Waivers for Playdates Are the Latest Sign Parents Have Lost It

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When I was a kid, we didn't have "playdates," we just played. Today they have become crazy beasts that require the power of a smart phone to track and more planning than a wedding in some extreme circles. And oh yeah, now some even require that you sign a waiver before your child is allowed to enter her playmate's house.

I wish I was kidding, but apparently it's true. According to Today, parents increasingly are being asked to sign waivers before their children are allowed to attend a birthday party or a playdate.

Now the birthday parties I understand to some degree. When I've had parties at indoor bounce facilities, gyms, or other businesses that require them as part of the package protocol, that's one thing. There's no real choice in the matter for the hosts, and most parents willingly sign without even reading the fine print that basically says you won't sue. Fine. But for a playdate, at someone's house? Ridiculous.

I don't want to get sued more than the next person, and yes, people have gotten pretty litigious these days, but c'mon. These are supposed to be fun occasions, not contractually binding agreements. Heck, if we start there, why not get them for any child who comes into contact with yours -- just in case they happen to collide?

One parent who had been asked to sign such a waiver for a playdate wrote into Miss Manners asking for her etiquette input on the matter. I thought her answer in The Washington Post was spot on:

Well, there is an awful lot of suing going on. But that is all the more reason to be wary of people who harbor anticipatory litigious thoughts about their children’s playdates. However, that is not the only worry that Miss Manners would have if she were you. What goes on in that household that such a precaution is necessary?

Personally, no one has ever asked me to sign one before a playdate. If they did, I think I'd quickly find an excuse why said playdate needed to be cancelled immediately. Typhoid flu, whatever, but I certainly can't imagine leaving my child in the home of someone freakishly paranoid enough to ask that I sign one. Plus, the idea of waiving any responsibility for my child's safety from the person I'm entrusting his care to seems all kind of wrong.

Have you ever been asked to sign a waiver before a playdate? How did you/would you react?


Image via edenpictures/Flickr

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nonmember avatar kaerae

This is just bizarre. Anyway, homeowner's insurance should cover a majority of accidents that could happen on a playdate at someone's house.

butte... butterflyfreak

That is just nuts! I would not be signing any such waiver and for sure, my kid would not be going there again!

memek... memekisses

No and if I was asked, my kid wouldn't be playing with that child.

buffa... buffalove23

Idt this is unheard of. I remember going to a friend's house in middle school and my mom having to sign a waiver from the parents to swim or go on the trampoline(sp). Idk how much it would have held up in court but to each its own.

Eques... EquestrianMom

Well, I require waivers signed if kids want to ride my horses, even if its just for a few minutes with two adults holding the child on either side. My stable insurance requires it! The reason being is that if a child (or adult) falls off or even dismounts badly and slips and falls (as in, no fault of the horse or me) their medical insurance can and probably will sue me to recoup the cost of the medical bills. So perhaps parents are worried about that if a child say, falls down the steps or tries to climb a tree and breaks an arm. 

That said, for normal playdates, I can't imagine signing a waiver or asking folks too. Not to say that at some point my son hasn't or won't get hurt. But lets face facts here, my kid trips and falls while running, falls on his bike and so forth here at home too. Ish happens, he's five. I'm not about to sue because of it! 

nonmember avatar Lord K

It's not parents who lost it, its our out-of-control litigious country that lost it. When everyone sues anyone for anything, even something as innocent and sweet as children playing needs to have indemnity protection. Sad!

nonmember avatar Stephanie.r.e

While I hope to never have to do this I kind of understand it. It is horribly sad but everyone sues for everything. If my kid gets hurt playing at someone's house (as long as they weren't doing something crazy) I wouldn't blame anyone. But these days people are money hungry and sue first talk later.

Torra... TorranceMom

Nope. I'd never associate with people like that.

Samantha Wortham

My parents required it for the trampoline. It was more or less just a written statement letting the parents know that we had one and they would be on it in the home.

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