Jumping into Trampoline Safety
By Lacye Vance, ATC
Arkansas Children's Hospital Injury Prevention Center
Trampolines are a common sight in the backyards of families all over the United States. People of all ages use trampolines for fun, exercise or spending time with their friends and family. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports trampolines are not as safe as you might think. During 2011 alone, there were more than 83,000 people injured while using trampolines, according to a recent U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission safety alert.
These injuries can happen to people of any age, but the American Academy of Pediatrics says rates of injury appear to be higher for children under 5 years old. Injuries that occur while using trampolines can include muscle and ligament injuries, broken bones, cuts, bruises, brain injuries and even spinal cord injuries that can cause a loss of function in the arms and legs. Injuries often happen when the jumper lands wrong, falls off the trampoline while trying to do tricks, or two or more people crash into each other. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also notes that the frame and springs of the trampoline are dangerous and can cause injury.
The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages the use of backyard trampolines, and has called for more research on this topic. The use of netting and other safety equipment on trampolines has not reduced injuries, according to AAP research published in the journal Pediatrics last year. If parents decide to buy a trampoline or allow their children to play on trampolines, there are several recommended safety tips:
- Children should always be supervised by a parent or guardian, though supervised children can still be injured.
- Trampolines should be used by only one person at a time.
- Trampolines should not be used by a child younger than 6 years old.
- Ladders should not be used to climb onto the trampoline. This allows younger children the ability to climb onto the trampoline.
- Flips or tricks should not be allowed. Landing on your neck after attempting a flip or other trick can cause spinal cord injuries.
- The trampoline should have protective padding covering the frame and springs.
- The trampoline should be placed in an area away from trees, houses, fences, rocks or other dangerous structures. (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission).