Reaching New Heights: Trampolines More Dangerous Than Most Parents Realize
June 20, 2006
By: Maayan S. Heller for Shoulder1
What could be better than bouncing around on a trampoline? Well, a lot of things, according to your doctor.
|Play it Safe|
Do you really want a trampoline? The best way to avoid trampoline accidents is to not have one at all.
Supervise children on trampolines, especially ones under 15 since they contribute to over two-thirds of all accidents.
Only let kids jump one at a time: many accidents are collision accidents.
Tell kids to climb off, not jump off the trampoline.
Only jump towards the center of the trampoline.
For a long time trampolines were an alluring and intriguing fun-feature of circuses, carnivals and amusement parks, but in recent years many people have succumbed to the intrigue and trampolines are finding their way into families’ backyards.
The result: An overwhelming increase in trampoline-related injuries – and some are pretty serious.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 89,000 trampoline-related injuries landed people in the emergency room in 2004. This number reflects an increase of about 150 percent from 1990. Furthermore, a study completed at the Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island found that warmer weather and these kinds of accidents seem to go hand-in-hand. The real kicker is that more than 90 percent of trampoline injuries happen at home.
As a result, doctors just plain don’t like ‘em.
Put simply: “I think they are BAD,” says Laura Schwab, M.D., a pediatrician in Chicago. Her sentiments echo those of both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), who have instituted policies recommending against at-home and recreational trampolines.
While trampolines seem like tons of fun, the truth is big bounces can lead to big problems and trampolines, especially unprofessional ones at home, are linked with lots of risks.
Trampoline-related injuries range from relatively minor (scrapes, bruises, bumps), to more serious (strains, sprains, fractures, deep cuts or lacerations), to frighteningly severe (concussions, broken bones, spine and head injuries).
“The most common injuries are of the arms and legs,” says Dr. Schwab. “Neck injuries are more rare, but are often severe.”
According to statistics, kids under the age of 15 make up about two-thirds of all trampoline injuries. And in addition to injuries incurred from jumping or falling off of trampolines, many injuries are caused by colliding with another person, landing improperly while jumping or doing stunts and hitting or landing on the trampoline’s springs or frame.
“There is no need to have a trampoline at home,” emphasizes Dr. Schwab, “it is just too dangerous and not worth the risk.”
While both the AAP and the AAOS strongly recommend against the recreational use of trampolines altogether, they also both stress the importance of implementing safety measures for those who choose to use them despite the warnings.
If you have a trampoline in your backyard, or if your kids have friends who have them, keeping these recommendations in the forefront of your mind especially now that summer’s arrived (and with it, peak trampoline-injury season), is of critical importance.
So what rules should you follow?
According to the AAP, the main safety recommendations are as follows:
Only one person should use the trampoline at a time.
In supervised settings, the user of the trampoline should be at the center of the mat.
The user of the trampoline should not attempt maneuvers beyond capability or training, thereby putting them at risk for injury.
Personnel trained in trampoline safety and competent spotters should be present whenever the trampoline is in use.
Even in supervised training programs, the use of trampolines for children younger than 6 years of age should be prohibited.
The trampoline must be secured and not accessible when not in use.
But many doctors agree: “the biggest safety tip is not to have a trampoline at all,” says Dr. Schwab. “There are so many other ways to provide entertainment and exercise safely for [your] children.”
Last updated: 20-Jun-06