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”
("something that spoils or ruins an otherwise enjoyable event; anything that
ruins your good mood, a downer; a killjoy"—The
Urban Dictionary). 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.
Some safety statistics
the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), over 100, 000 emergency-room visits
per year are associated with injuries suffered while the persons were using trampolines.
Nearly half of these visits are due
to broken bones.
Younger children (6 years and
younger) are apparently at greatest risk for injury.
If more than 1 child is jumping on a
trampoline at the same time, the risk for injury increases significantly.
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
Many kids are injured while adults are
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, 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.
Be aware of how dangerous trampolines
can be and talk to your child so they understand that trampolines, although
fun, have hazards.
Limit the number of children on the
trampoline. Ideally, only 1 child at a time should jump, and probably never more than 2 at a time.
Remember that bounce houses (those
inflatable bouncing structures that can be rented for parties) carry the same
injury risks as trampolines—so it’s critical to limit the number of children allowed
inside at any one time.
Some sports programs use trampolines
as part of their training. Make sure coaches are supervising and adhering to
AAP guidelines for safety.
Don’t buy a trampoline for your
family. Why take the risk?