Trampolines are popular among kids and adults – but they’re dangerous. From 2002 to 2011, trampoline injuries contributed to more than 1 million emergency department visits in the United States.
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With an influx of indoor trampoline parks springing up nationwide, trampoline-related injuries may continue to soar.
Trampolines not advised
Whether kids are supervised at an indoor park or jumping on a trampoline in the backyard, there’s risk for significant injury. This makes trampolines inappropriate and dangerous for play.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests trampolines should never be used unless athletes are being supervised in training for a sport like diving or gymnastics.
As the weather begins to break, pediatric orthopaedists expect to see an increase in fractures.
“Kids have been cooped up all winter long,” pediatric orthopaedic specialist Ryan Goodwin, MD, says. “We expect to see trampoline and bicycle fracture rates rise.”
Dr. Goodwin has treated trampoline injuries where bones are broken so severely that they need emergency surgical repair. In addition to fractures, concussions, head & neck injuries, sprains and strains are also common.
A recent study found that nearly 100,000 trampoline-related injuries occurred in 2009 among children. Small children are 14 times more likely to get hurt than bigger children. What’s more, three-quarters of all trampoline injuries occur when multiple kids are jumping at one time.
Falls are the major culprit when it comes to injury. A 2012 AAP report notes that botched somersaults and flips are often the cause of cervical spine injuries with permanent injury.
Even though recreational use of trampolines is not recommended by experts, it’s still common.
“Jumping on a trampoline is physical exercise, and parents should limit screen time,” Dr. Goodwin says. “But there are much safer forms of outdoor physical activity.”
Dr. Goodwin encourages other outdoor activities. These can include taking a trip to your local playground, or going on a bike ride — but wear your helmet!.
“Playgrounds that are built on rubber or bark are the safest,” Dr. Goodwin says. “Avoid playgrounds surrounded by cement.”
If you do have a trampoline, here are some safety rules that should be followed at all times:
- Only allow one person to jump at a time
- Make sure the springs are covered
- Install a safety net around the perimeter of the trampoline
- Ensure the trampoline is set on level ground
- Avoid somersaults or flips
- Provide adult supervision at all times
Many injuries still occur despite adult supervision. Because of the overall risk, many homeowners insurance policies do not cover trampoline-related injury.
The absolute safest way to avoid trampoline injury is to stay off of them.