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Children’s Burger King Fall Results in Brain Injury

Two young children were playing at a playground inside a Burger King restaurant in Temecula, CA. The play structure, which included a fireman’s pole and monkey bars, rather surprisingly, had no rubber matting under it. Instead, the floor was bare tile. A 12-year old boy and his sister fell, hitting the tile floor. The boy, apparently hit the floor head first and sustained very serious personal injuries, including damaged lungs, his parietal lobe and left front lobe. He spent 4 months in hospital and is still undergoing intensive rehabilitation due to his significant brain damage.

The defendants in a lawsuit, filed by the family, were Burger King and the company responsible for the installation of the equipment at the Temecula location. The lawsuit alleged improper safety precautions, especially when the structure was installed for children to use. And what did the defendants argue? That responsibility for watching the kids belonged to the father. Now, I am a safety advocate; I do not argue that parents should not be watching their children. If the children fell performing unsafe maneuvers or activities that a parent should have prevented, that parent bears partial responsibility. However, such a structure should be constructed with public and child safety as the paramount concern. Not doing so is negligent and the structure is an attractive nuisance, under the law, as well. Simply put, this structure was constructed in an unsafe manner while parents had every right to expect that the equipment was safe to play on. The installers were the safety experts in this case, not the parents. There were no instructional advice or warning signs posted in this Burger King; other BK franchises with similar equipment had such safety warnings.

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