Trampolines are popular among kids and adults — but they can be dangerous. From 2002 to 2011, trampoline injuries contributed to more than 1 million emergency department visits in the U.S.
“Kids have been cooped up all winter long,” says Dr. Ryan Goodwin, pediatric orthopedic specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. “We expect to see trampoline and bicycle fracture rates rise.”
A 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 American Academy of Pediatrics report notes that botched somersaults and flips often are the cause of cervical spine injuries with permanent injury.
Goodwin has treated trampoline injuries where bones are broken so severely that they need emergency surgical repair. In addition to fractures, concussions, head and neck injuries, sprains and strains also are common.
Many injuries still occur despite adult supervision. Because of the overall risk, many homeowners insurance policies do not cover trampoline-related injury.
Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics include making sure adequate protective padding is on the trampoline, is in good condition, and is appropriately placed. Also, check all equipment often and when damaged, protective padding, the net enclosure, and any other parts should be repaired or replaced.
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. These can include taking a trip to your local playground or going on a bike ride — but wear your helmet.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children can get hurt when they:
- Land wrong while jumping.
- Land wrong while flipping and doing somersaults (this should not be allowed because of the risk of head and neck injuries).
- Try stunts.
- Strike or are struck by another person.
- Fall or jump off the trampoline.
- Land on the springs or frame.
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.
For more information, visit health.clevelandclinic.org