Trampolines are great fun-and dangerous to users

Pediatricians are becoming more concerned with the hazards generated by the combination of trampolines and children. In the September 24 issue of Pediatrics, these doctors repeat their previous cautions to parents regarding the dangers of home trampoline use.

The inherent qualities that make a trampoline great fun are often the triggers of injuries in children. The new report, the subject of the journal article, recommends that pediatricians only encourage trampoline use when part of a training program administered by qualified coaches, effective safety measures and diligent supervision.

Fortunately, the rate of trampoline injuries has declined since 2004, unlike some car accident incidents. Although very popular in Miami and other parts of the U.S., trampolines continue to cause injuries, affecting almost 98,000 people in 2009. While a relatively reasonable (if there is any reasonableness) 3,100 of these injuries required hospitalization, almost one-half of the many injuries occurred to children age five or younger.

Injury statistics, including fractures and joint dislocations, occur in young children more than older or adult jumpers. Considering the increased flexibility of children, this is a troubling statistic. Just falling or jumping off a trampoline results in almost 40 percent of the reported injuries. Consequently, those jumpers doing flips and somersaults are at greater risk of head and spinal injuries.

Apparently, there are few preventative actions with young children that prevent many of these personal injuries, as around 75 percent of them occur when an adult or parent is watching. “Jump parks” are just as dangerous as back yard trampolines, as there is no statistical difference in the number of injuries in either setting.

Manufacturers and trade groups have supported efforts to make trampolines safer, adding extra padding and more strict warnings about appropriate use of these devices. Yet, the new report includes research on additional safety features, indicating that injury rates have yet to respond or decline.

Do you support pediatricians that continue to warn parents against having home trampolines? Do you support the efforts of the Pediatric Care Center in Miami Children’s Hospital; that advise parents on avoiding trampoline injuries? Their pediatricians continue to discourage using home trampolines because of the serious risks.

Source: HealthDay, “Doctors to Parents: No Trampolines,” Denise Mann, Sept. 24, 2012

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