Backyard Trampolines– Should You Have One?

TrampolineAs a pediatrician, I’ve known of the dangers of trampolines, and yet at one point we had one.  We were lucky.  No serious injuries, or any at all really.  In this study in the Journal of Orthopaedics, 2014 “Fractures from Trampolines”, the very real danger is spelled out.

Looking at 10 years of data from 2002 to 2012, there were an estimated 1 million ER visits and 288,876 fractures.  That’s over 28,000 fractures a year.  60% were upper extremities (fingers, forearms, hands, and elbows) and just over 4% involved the spine, head, ribs, and sternum. There were 2,800 spinal fractures. These are the ones that scare me as they can result in paralysis, which was thankfully rare.

The average age for injuries was 9 years old, but over 16 years old for the spinal injuries. I’m not surprised having raised 10 children, it’s the teens who are risk takers, doing the flips and at highest risk for landing on their necks.

The Academy of Pediatrics says that the risk of injury is so high that trampolines should never be used at home or at outdoor playgrounds.  I have seen safe use of them in gymnastics centers where flips need to be learned and the students land in safe foam pits.

It’s impossible to live with your child in a bubble, so if you decide to get a trampoline, here are a few tips to minimize the chance of injury:

  • Make sure you have pads protecting the springs and nets around it to prevent falls to the ground.
  • If you can put the trampoline in the ground, do it. Otherwise, be sure there are not trees or other structures the jumpers could hit.
  • Only one person jumping at a time and never alone and unsupervised.

 

You can read more about cervical spine injury patterns in children here…

 

 

Dr. Paul

 

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