It’s one of those things that adorns many American back yards. Chances are, if you have kids, you probably have one, or at least your kids have begged you for one. I am talking about the trampoline. The back yard toy that can turn anyone into a human bouncy ball. Unfortunately, it is also recipe for disaster, especially for little ones.
Susannah Briskin, MD, and pediatric sports medicine specialist with University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital has co-authored a report for the American Academy of Pediatrics which strongly urges parents and doctors to discourage trampoline use at home. The statistics support her position. In 2009 the US Consumer Produce Safety Commission reported 98,000 trampoline related injuries. 3,100 of these required hospitalization.
The report emphasized that trampolines are most dangerous when there is more than one person on the mat. Most of the injuries related to trampolines were not serious however, children under 5 seemed to be the most likely to suffer bone fractures. 48% of those under 5 suffered fractures or dislocations. What’s even more troubling is that many of these injuries occurred even while under the supervision of an adult. The report stated that “Many parents and supervising adults do not appear to be aware of key components of trampoline safety such as [limiting] the trampoline to 1 user at a time, and this may contribute significantly to current injury rates.”
Some of the major guidelines that were posted in a UH Case Medical Center press release are as follows:
- Pediatricians should advise parents and children against recreational trampoline use.
- Current data on netting and other safety equipment indicates no reduction in injury rates.
- Failed attempts at somersaults and flips frequently cause cervical spine injuries, resulting in permanent and devastating consequences.
- Homeowners with a trampoline should verify that their insurance covers trampoline injury-related claims.
- Rules and regulations for trampoline parks may not be consistent with the AAP guidelines.
- Trampolines used for a structured sports training program should always have appropriate supervision, coaching, and safety measures in place.
This statement will appear in the October 2012 journal of Pediatrics.