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Pediatricians Warn About Trampoline Injury Risks

A youth bouncing on a trampoline
Trampolines are a fun recreational toy for children and teens, but, according to the recent recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), trampolines should be avoided. In fact, the AAP recently issued a statement discouraging the recreational use of trampolines, saying the activity poses a major injury risk for kids with no clear way to reduce likelihood of getting hurt.

The modern trampoline, which was patented by competitive gymnast George Nissen in 1945, was designed for use by acrobats, gymnasts and eventually for military training, but at-home recreational trampoline use has increased significantly in recent years as the product has become more affordable.

According to this article by CBS News, in 2009, trampoline injury rates were 70 injuries per 100,000 children ages 0 to 4. For children ages 5 to 14, the injury rate jumped to 160 per every 100,000 children. In 2009 alone, there were 98,000 total injuries. Moreover, between three percent and 14 percent of the injuries required hospitalization.

The vast majority of trampoline injuries - nearly three-fourths - occur when several kids are bouncing on the trampoline at the same time, with the smallest children 14 times more likely to get injured than their heavier counterparts since the added force of the bigger kids is absorbed by the smaller kids. Common trampoline injuries include: fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains, bruises and other soft-tissue injuries.

Falls from the trampoline account for up to 40 percent of trampoline injuries, with the risk of falls increased if the trampoline is placed on uneven ground. Recently, companies have begun selling netting and other perimeter guards, but researchers from the AAP said that there is no evidence that these safety features actually prevent injuries.

According to the AAP, the injury risks associated with trampolines are as high as swimming pools. Unlike swimming pools, however, the safety measures have little impact.

While the AAP recommends avoiding recreational trampoline use entirely, the organization suggest that if a child or teen still wants to use a trampoline, the child should do so via a structured sports training program with appropriate supervision, coaching and safety measures already in place. If a family still wants a trampoline at home, the AAP urges parents to check with their insurance provider to make sure the coverage includes trampoline-related injury claims.


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