[hackerspaces] Kids and Hackerspaces

Christopher J. Pilkington cjp at 0x1.net
Mon May 11 22:39:01 CEST 2009

On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 4:08 PM, Matt Joyce <mdjoyce at gmail.com> wrote:
> 1.  There's a difference between a members kids... and a non members kids.

Maybe.  People change when their child is injured.  Reason is usually
out the window.  Keep in mind even with a waiver, you can still be
sued.  Just defending a lawsuit can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
 In NYC, possibly more.

> 2.  What happens in the horrific likelihood a kid gets injured?

See above.

> 3.  Our space is in no way child proofed.  In fact it's pretty unsafe even
> for adults if you don't know to not touch stuff you don't understand.

Exactly.  You run a risk of being sued even if an adult is injured.
"I had no idea it was dangerous, how could they have something that
dangerous in there with no warning labels," sounds great to a jury.

> 4.  Re-engineering the space to be child safe in and of itself is a huge
> effort for us at this point.
> 5.  What we've come to realize in public events is that we can't trust
> parents to mind their kids.  Sometimes the parents are there to geek out and
> their kids are just running around putting themselves in jeopardy.

Kids should only be in the space if they're working on something with
their parents.  They're not there for the social benefits, it's not a
daycare center.  If you want to geek out without your kids, get a

> 6.  Even with disclaimers and signed away rights to sue us... if a child is
> injured, we WILL get sued.  And, we WILL lose.  Because that's what
> functionally happens when a kid is injured.
> 7.  We don't currently have events that are geared towards kids.
> Some of the possible solutions that have been proposed...
> 1.  Make use of alternative venues such as the public library.  Host
> children geared events through them.

I like this idea.

> 2.  Make use of umbrella organizations... like sponsoring a first team.  If
> a kid is injured... first will get sued and has the money and size to handle
> that sort of thing.

That will help a bit, but if said umbrella organization can show that
you were negligent (no safety warnings, equipment), all bets are

> 3.  Talk to a lawyer.

Yeah, a good idea.  An insurance agent as well.  Although I doubt any
insurance company would grant you the right for children to be in a
space that would be likely considered light industrial.  Maybe also
talk to BOCES-types of organizations, since they often deal with
potentially dangerous shop equipment and minors in the same context.

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