You are invited to… sign here please: The rise of children's birthday party waiver forms
20:43 GMT, 13 April 2012
Signing a release statement to allow a child to play in
a hazardous environment is a common task but it seems parents are taking
the concept to new extremes.
Melissa Livingston, a mother of two from Long Island, was asked
to sign a waiver form that had been attached to a children’s birthday
The mother told the Today show: 'I wanted to run it by a
lawyer to know exactly what I was getting into, but now I see them all the time.'
Caution: Waiver forms have showed up on children's birthday party invitations and in the hands of parents with children who plan a play date
The requests were first made known by Amy Odell, an editor of Buzzfeed.com.
The legal documents have also turned up on children's play dates.
An anonymous mother who tagged herself 'Stunned Mom' wrote
about her experience on Free Range Kids, the website of Lenore Skenazy who is a New
'Stunned Mom' said that she had been asked to sign a waiver
to allow her daughter to play at their neighbour's house.
Her post read: 'Wow! I guess that dangers lurk over there – in the form of a trampoline. I can't help but feel paranoid. Should I then be
worried about having their kids over at our house
'Has anyone heard of such a thing'
Another mother wrote to The Washington Post about the waiver
she was asked to sign after her son was invited to play at a classmate’s
The anonymous mother wrote: 'I think this is unbelievably
rude – as if to imply that I would sue them if there is an accident or injury!'
'What goes on in that household that such a precaution is necessary'
The paper's 'Miss Manners' columnist said in response: 'There
is an awful lot of suing going on. What goes on in that household that such a
precaution is necessary'
The surge in such requests leads one to wonder how necessary
the forms really are in low-risk situations these days. Furthermore, how does one parent tell another
parent that their precautionary methods are somewhat extreme
Jacoba Urist, a lawyer and journalist, said that parents who
feel uncomfortable about such formality should explain their reasons. After all, the requesting parents' hearts are in the right place.
Ms Urist said: 'You can also see whether there's a specific
safety concern, like having another child in their pool, and if so, assure her
that you guys are prepared to stay on dry land for the afternoon.
'If she's still not satisfied Maybe sign it this once, and
hang out with another mom in the future.'