(Spoiler alert: Because we care about them.)
I recently heard about a child walking out onto the workout floor of a gym and getting struck in the head by an athlete doing kettlebell swings. Because the child was 4 years old, few details were released about the accident. But even at the lightest of kettlebells, that child did not have a chance, and sadly did not survive the injuries.
A gym does not bounce back from an incident like that. Even if financially the owners could survive the legal fees, no one in that community will ever be the same. The owners are devastated. The coach can’t stop blaming himself. The member can never step foot in the gym again. The parents are heartbroken, and the very place that might have helped them through such a tragedy is where they lost their child.
In talking with affiliate insurance companies, I learned that the two biggest claims they see are accidents because of dogs and incidents involving kids—and not the kids who are part of the class and being coached; members’ kids who were allowed on the floor during a class or open gym.
I have three kids. I get it. It’s hard when they’re little. We try to do so much and squeeze so much into each day. We multitask at every opportunity. We want to set good examples for them. But the gym might not be the best place for them—and the workout floor certainly isn’t.
It may be inconvenient to have to get up early and get your workout in before work. It may suck to have to take a different class than your spouse so someone can watch your kids. But how inconvenient would it be if something were to happen to them?
It probably wouldn’t even be anyone’s fault. But think about yourself as an athlete when you’re in the middle of a workout. You know what it feels like. It’s hard to count. You can’t even remember your name. You surely aren’t aware of the little one playing next to you.
And this is where the danger comes in. Think about the way a barbell takes a weird bounce. Have you seen the holes in the drywall at the gym? What if the end of that bar were to make contact with your little one?
At Oceanside CrossFit, we have a strict policy of no kids allowed on the black workout floor. We aren’t trying to be mean. We aren’t trying to inconvenience you. We care about your kids. A lot. The safety of everyone at the gym is our top priority. As a parent you are hyper aware of your child and where they are, but other people working out may not be.
Plus, we want your hour each day at the gym to be the time you take care of yourself. Fill your cup. Enjoy some hard work without worrying about anything else so that you can go home and give your all to your kids. We want the other people in class to enjoy that as well, and if a child is on the workout floor their focus becomes the child and not their workout. It’s not a good scenario for anyone.
For kids at the age where they can be alone and entertain themselves for an hour, we have several areas to hang out and be safe at the gym. There is a designated kids playroom with a TV, DVD, and kids furniture.
We want you to set a good example for your kids and show them that exercise is a positive experience. We want them to grow up and join you for a workout. But we also want to make sure that everyone is safe and that they get that chance.
Inspiration provided by Nikole Gessler at CrossFitRecursive.com.