Most kids love to play on trampolines. Bouncing up and down on a backyard trampoline looks like a lot of fun, but one expert says use of the popular piece of equipment should be strongly discouraged.
Michele LaBotz, co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ statement on trampoline safety, says that even safety features such as netting enclosures and padding do not significantly decrease the risk of injury. The new policy was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
The new statement also admits that trampolines do have an acceptable role when used as part of a structured athletic training program that includes appropriate coaching, supervision and safety measures.
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System estimates that 98,000 trampoline-related injuries resulting in 3,100 hospitalizations were reported in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available. That is down from 3,300 hospitalizations and 112,000 injuries reported in 2004.
Other groups – The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, The Canadian Pediatric Society and the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine – have also issued similar statements discouraging recreational and playground use of trampolines.
According to LaBotz:
– About three-fourths of trampoline injuries happen when more than one person is jumping
– Kids 5 and younger are at greater risk for serious injury
– Fractures and dislocations make up 48 percent of injuries
– Falls from a trampoline account for 27 to 39 percent of injuries
– Head and neck injuries make up 10 percent to 17 percent of trampoline injuries
Jumping on a trampoline can be a great way for kids or adults to get a vigorous workout. Parents, if you want to let your kids use a trampoline, at least make an informed decision. Know the risks and take every step possible to make it a safe experience for your children, including supervising your children and making sure only one person at a time is on the trampoline.