Soar High and Safe With These Trampoline Safety TipsNov 18, 2019
Common especially in summer months, trampoline fun can lead to significant injuries accounting for approximately 100,000 hospital emergency visits annually according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission. The vast majority (85%) involve children – many of them very young.
“For a child, there is nothing more fun than defying gravity and soaring as high as you can,” says Ahmed A. Bazzi, D.O., orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Michigan DMC. “I was once a kid too. The trouble lies in the force exerted by the landing on the child’s softer bones, growth plates and ligaments. This is also magnified by the poor motor skills and balancing of a young child under the age of 6. The risks of injury certainly outweigh any perceived physical activity or exercise benefit that may exist.”
Dr. Bazzi says children are especially prone to fractures or dislocations including injuries to the knee, ankle, elbow, wrist and spine. “Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see these injuries earn a ticket to the operating room,” he adds.
In a 2010 survey sampling of families with trampolines conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Orthopedics Department, a majority of parents indicated their children sustained injuries despite their best efforts to prevent them.
Many of the families purchased recommended trampoline protective equipment, such as netting and padding, to prevent or lessen the impact of falls. However, trampoline injuries from accidental collisions and improper landing from jumping up and down still occurred. Similar accidents also occurred even on ground level trampolines, which are often touted as being safer than traditional above ground systems.
Whether your child has a trampoline or is jumping on one in the increasingly popular trampoline parks, it is important to adhere to the following safety precautions by the Foundation of Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Care and Cure which are supported by the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Department of Orthopedics:
- Trampolines should not be used except when there is adequately trained supervision
- Trampolines should only be used in well-lighted areas and children should never be allowed to jump on the trampoline from high objects
- A surrounding net may decrease the injury rate but this has not yet been extensively proven. However, netting is available for the perimeter of trampolines that has been shown to reduce the number of injuries from falls off the trampoline, but should only be used with the following warnings:
- Netting is no substitute for adequate adult supervision
- Netting will not reduce nor eliminate crippling injuries and death on the surface of the trampoline itself
- The trampoline jumping surface should be placed a ground level
- Supporting bars, strings and surrounding landing surfaces should have adequate protective padding
- Only one participant should use a trampoline at any time (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics 75 percent of trampoline injuries occur when multiple people are jumping on the mat)
- Trained spotters should be present when participants are jumping
- Somersaults or high-risk maneuvers should be avoided without proper supervision and instruction; these maneuvers should be done only with proper use of protective equipment, such as a harness
- Use of trampolines for physical education, competitive gymnastics, diving training and other similar activities requires carefully trained adult supervision and proper safety measures
- Competent adult supervision and instruction is needed for children at all times