Trampolines are a common sight in many Central Oregon backyards. We all want our kids to be active and have fun, however, the number of trampoline related injuries is growing at an alarming rate. The Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics did a study and found that from 2002 to 2011, more than one million people went to the ER for trampoline injuries. The average age of those injuries was between 9 and 10 years old.
The most common trampoline injuries orthopedic surgeons treat are broken bones and sprains in the arms and legs. Other common injuries include concussions, bruises, cuts, and occasionally serious head, neck, or spinal cord injuries. To help reduce the number and severity of orthopedic injuries, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends the following guidelines:
- Only allow one person to jump at a time. Three quarters of injuries occur when two or more children are jumping at the same time and collide. This is dangerous and could result in serious head or neck injuries.
- Do not allow children six years or younger to use trampolines.
- Never jump from high objects on to the trampoline.
- Do not depend on the safety net enclosure to prevent injuries. Most injuries occur on the mat of the trampoline.
- Provide adult supervision and safety instruction to children while jumping. Do not allow high-risk stunts such as flips or somersaults, as those could result in spinal injuries or broken bones, such as a broken wrist.
- Trampolines should be placed at ground level. A fall from a higher level increases the risk and severity of injury.
- Maintain your trampoline regularly. Ensure that the springs, bars, and landing surfaces have adequate protective padding. Check for tears or damage, and replace parts when needed.
Kids love trampolines, but they need to know there are dangers associated with them. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons strongly advises against using a trampoline at home. As parents, some of these guidelines may be unpopular and hard to enforce, but will ultimately end in a safer trampoline experience for your family.