Surprising Dangers of Trampolines for Kids

Consider other outdoor activities
3 boys on a trampoline

Trampolines are popular among kids and adults, but there’s no denying they’re dangerous. Whether kids are supervised at an indoor park or jumping on a trampoline in the backyard, there’s always risk for significant injury. This makes trampolines inappropriate and dangerous for play.

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Should you let your kids use trampolines?

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests trampolines should never be used unless athletes are being supervised in training for a sport like diving or gymnastics. As the weather warms each season, however, pediatric orthopaedists tend to see an increase in fractures.

“Kids have been cooped up all winter long,” pediatric orthopaedic surgeon 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. And it’s not just fractures. Concussions, head and neck injuries, sprains and strains are also common.

How often do kids really get injured on trampolines? 

Despite your kids pleading and reassuring you they’ll be fine, here’s some data to help you stay fast in your decision to say, “No.” 

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Research reported nearly 100,000 trampoline-related injuries in a one-year period among children. Some of the takeaways?

  • Small children are 14 times more likely to get hurt than bigger children.
  • 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. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, botched somersaults and flips are often the cause of cervical spine injuries with permanent injury.

Safer outdoor activities to recommend to kids instead

Just because trampoline parks are common and trampolines of all sizes dot your neighborhood in summer doesn’t mean there aren’t other alternatives for exercise.

“Jumping on a trampoline is physical exercise. And, of course, being active and limiting screen time is important,” Dr. Goodwin says. “But there are much safer forms of outdoor physical activity.” Play frisbee, take a hike, play catch or going on a bike ride — but wear your helmet!

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How to reduce trampoline injuries

If you already have a trampoline and want to keep using it, 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, Dr. Goodwin notes. Because of the overall risk, many homeowners insurance policies don’t cover trampoline-related injury.

The absolute safest way to avoid trampoline injury? Stay off of them.

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