“My neck hurts.”
Words no parent likes to hear from a child. But when my 11-year-old complained of neck pain this morning, I wasn’t surprised since he had been jumping on a trampoline at a birthday party the day before. I had to explain to him again why I dislike trampolines and their risks. I’m used to him viewing me as a “buzz kill,” and it’s true: I can take the fun out of a lot of things in his world.
However, I do understand the attraction of trampolines and in fact had great fun on them when I was a child. It’s just that years in pediatrics have proven that, in this area, the risks really can outweigh the fun.
Safety nets around trampolines may be giving parents a false sense of security. The nets have reduced the number of falls from trampolines but they have not decreased the number of injuries associated with trampoline use—in other words, most trampoline injuries take place while the person is on the trampoline. Many kids are injured while adults are “supervising.” Attempts at flips and somersaults on the trampoline can result in injuries (some serious with the risk of permanent damage) to the cervical spine (neck).
What to do? Well, the AAP comes right out and says, essentially, don’t get a trampoline or allow your children to use them other places. Realistic? I’ll admit that’s a tough assignment for a parent. We’ve had a surge of indoor trampoline parks springing up in our area and many birthday parties are held at these places. And, as was the case yesterday, I didn’t know that the house my son was visiting had a trampoline.
Here’s what I suggest:
Don’t buy a trampoline for your family. Why take the risk?
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