Although jumping, bouncing and somersaulting on trampolines may be fun for kids, it's not worth the risk. About 100,000 children in the U.S. are injured on trampolines every year.
That number doesn't just include aspiring gymnasts and cheerleaders performing athletic moves in the gym. Most of the injuries involve kids horsing around in their own backyards.
Because of the high risk of injury, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons created trampoline safety guidelines. They recommend, among other things, the need for supervision, protective padding and that only one person at a time should be on the trampoline.
The guidelines are cautious and sensible, but even following them might not keep your children from getting injured.
Pediatric study reveals trampolines aren't safe, guidelines or not
Dr. Christine Ho, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Children's Health℠ and Associate Professor at UT Southwestern, conducted a study to determine if following the guidelines makes a difference. She compiled data from 300 patients who came to the trauma center because of trampoline injuries, during a period of two and one-half years.
Of those 300 patients, 99% had severe/serious or moderate injuries. Of the injuries, 91% were fractures and 7% were soft tissue injuries such as sprains. The most common fractures occurred to the elbow at 34%, forearm at 21% and tibia/fibula at 15%. Almost all (98%) of the children in the study had been playing on a trampoline either at their home, a friend's home or a relative's home.
"We, unfortunately, didn't find any difference in the severity or frequency of injuries between the children who followed the trampoline safety measures and the ones who didn't," Dr. Ho says. Children still broke bones on trampolines with padding, and they still fell off the sides when they were supervised. The study showed that an adult was present during 72% of injuries; and protective safety equipment was in place during 55% of injuries.
"Based on our clinical study, it’s safe to say there’s no such thing as a safe trampoline," says Dr. Ho.