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The Next Kids Birthday Party You Attend May Require a Liability Waiver

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 2 11

The latest and greatest thing to bring to a kid's birthday party isn’t some new toy or computer game. In fact, it’s something that you won’t even see at an adult’s birthday gathering. It’s more than simply cake and ice cream. There are a number of parents that are making each child that attends the party sign a liability waiver. Liability waivers are what to bring to the next kid’s birthday party you attend.

Normal kids play is getting more and more complicated in many circumstances as times change and evolve. There is the Xbox or the Sims which has replaced the Hula Hoop and the Pogo Stick. What is the liability waiver replacing in our modern-day and age at a child’s birthday celebration?

When is a liability waiver generally used for children?

Signing up for soccer or swim class in gym requires a liability waiver and many parents can understand the need for this document. There is physical contact and possible harm can come with the physical activity or contact sports that you have chosen for your child to take part in. However, attending the next kid’s birthday party will also need a liability waiver in place of a simple gift and card. What are the risks with the physical activity that can come from your child simply being a child at a birthday get-together?

Are children’s birthday shindigs becoming to elaborate or dangerous? Are you taking the entire third grade class on a ski trip to celebrate turning 9 years old? Jetting down the slopes may be a little much in place of a simple cake and ice cream celebration in the back yard with Bozo the clown as the entertainment. One of the most popular parties to see the waiver  is at a swimming pool party or those parents that expect children to play in a Bouncy House or Trampoline. These are all situations where physical activities at the birthday party are more than the average child’s play. Should a liability waiver be required for these categories of kid’s birthday parties? Should the age of the children come into play for a waiver or no waiver party?

Scores of parents are actually asking for children coming to the next play date along with birthday parties to bring a liability waiver signed by their parents if they want to share in the festivities. Are there precarious happenings at the play dates as well as parties?

Is it polite to ask for a waiver?

The Washington Post asked Miss Manners for her take on the situation and she indicated that she wasn’t even luke warm on the idea that a waiver of liability be completed in order for kids to come to a party for a child’s birthday.

Are you comfortable signing a waiver?

Parents in bigger cities are more likely to see these types of forms and scores have asked to have them reviewed by their personal attorney before signing and returning them. Is it just as rude to have your attorney look it over before signing? Are these even enforceable? Most states show these are not even enforceable when and if signed. Though, courts haven’t tried to enforce one as of yet so how enforceable they could actually be is questionable.

Be certain that although you are adverse to the liability waiver for a child’s birthday party you must remember that not everyone feels the same as you do and parents have the right to ask for the waiver if they would like to.

How to say no to signing a waiver

If you are a parent that has refused to sign you must prepare to handle this situation with your child. Explaining what the waiver is and why you won’t sign for your child to attend the party could be a tricky situation.

Don’t put your kid on the spot in front of everyone else attending the party. Get this sorted out ahead of time. If you have to RSVP this could be a great time to decline the invite with polite thanks, but no thanks. You don’t need to share your reasons for declining unless you feel a need to. If the waiver is presented at the door of the party this is a different situation, but should still be handled with manners and courtesy if possible.

In conclusion

For parents that are asking for a signed waiver,  you should also ask if you would consider having one in place for your dog at the birthday party and other possible dangers. Although you don’t imagine that your family pet, which has never bitten anyone, would bite today are you asking for a waiver for him also? Have you had other occurrences at previous parties making a waiver necessary at this one?

Homeowners insurance may cover all the children and check into it before asking for waivers to be signed. You don’t want to lose some friends over child’s play or unjustified paranoia in our litigious society. Can kids be kids anymore without signing a liability waiver to attend a kid’s birthday party?


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Comments

Apr 2, 2012 1:27pm
Introspective
I miss the "old days"; what's wrong with musical chairs and some cake and ice cream? I'm so glad my children are older because I'm one of those parents who would not sign the liability wavers. Interesting article.
Apr 13, 2012 5:26am
smcopywrite
introspective
you would be surprised at the amount of parents that do use these. my daughter brought one home from a friend's house whose parents had one for their trampoline. i didnt sign. it has made things a little awkward, but to each his own. i miss musical chairs myself.
thanks for the feedback
May 8, 2012 1:13am
claudslewis
Great article... I recently read a book by madeleine wickham - swimming pool sunday. All about a family that went to an open pool party at their good friends' house, and one of the girls had an accident on the diving board. The house owners were sued!
May 8, 2012 5:49am
mommymommymommy
I sign waivers at party places and have no problem with that. But at someone's home? No thank you! Most of my twins' friends do not even have birthday parties, so I am off the hook. Congrats on being featured!
May 8, 2012 11:24am
Introspective
Congratulations of the feature, smcopywrite!
Jul 10, 2012 1:02am
smcopywrite
thank you so much!
May 8, 2012 3:16pm
Ddraig
I have never been approached with a waiver but I have only last month had to decide not to let my daughter go to a party because it was a swimming pool party and she can not swim well.
I can believe parents need waivers because I have seen kids misusing bouncy castles by climbing over the back towards the generator. Would I sign a waiver? No! If I sign a waiver and anything happens to my child I have no come back.
May 8, 2012 10:12pm
aberdelle
I am torn on this topic. While my gut instinct says it is absolutely ridiculous; in the litigious world we live in people are always looking to for an easy way out and place the blame on someone else. A waiver does not give the party thrower the right to neglect the group of kids! Personally I would not use these, and I hope to not encounter them... thankfully my daughter is only just now 2 so I have some time before all the birthday party madness begins! Thanks for the interesting read.
Jul 1, 2012 2:51pm
BrandiNicole
I actually did go to a Cow Boy Theme birthday party and we rode horses (cool right?)
Scary thing was we had to sign a waiver.
The horse looked tame but two hours into the fun rides and they were tired, pissy, and ready to eat. Some would just stay and eat grass others would give a little kick. We headed over towards the BBQ after that.

I saw a waiver on a garage sale the other day! It said: not liable for any accidents or occurrences while on my property. Unfortunately, you can put any sign you want but if your huge mean dog bites my kid YOU are still liable--sign or no sign in the court of law.
Jul 10, 2012 1:04am
smcopywrite
you are right about that one. however, the law does have some quirks from state to state concerning things such as these.
common sense when it comes to everything is the way to go. more than that listen to that little voice inside of all of us and what it has to say. dont ignore intuition
Jul 1, 2012 2:51pm
BrandiNicole
I actually did go to a Cow Boy Theme birthday party and we rode horses (cool right?)
Scary thing was we had to sign a waiver.
The horse looked tame but two hours into the fun rides and they were tired, pissy, and ready to eat. Some would just stay and eat grass others would give a little kick. We headed over towards the BBQ after that.

I saw a waiver on a garage sale the other day! It said: not liable for any accidents or occurrences while on my property. Unfortunately, you can put any sign you want but if your huge mean dog bites my kid YOU are still liable--sign or no sign in the court of law.
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