How Dangerous are Trampolines for Children?
Trampolines are dangerous. Don’t believe me? Just ask your friendly neighborhood emergency medicine doctor, and he’ll confirm this truth. From sprained ankles to broken arms to life-threatening head and neck injuries, warm weather brings scores of trampoline injuries. Numerous studies have confirmed this observation, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for an outright ban on all backyard jumping.So if trampolines are so dangerous, why does a drive around your neighborhood find one on nearly every street? Why are parents still letting their children jump? Why are kids still getting hurt? The answer is simple.
From a parent’s perspective, safety-conscious physicians and researchers are wrapping our kids in bubble-wrap and taking the fun out of summer. And while safety research and the resulting messages have taken a significant chunk out of the total incidence of childhood injuries, the sheer number of messages is becoming background noise, making it difficult for parents to hear and focus on any specific one. Another reason parents ignore the trampoline message is because it seems rather extreme.
Eliminate all backyard trampolines? Really? Why not follow that logic and eliminate bicycles and skateboards and swimming pools? Plenty of non-bouncy summertime dangers lurk in the shadows, waiting for an opportunity to strike. So some helpful tips to those of you who would refuse to heed that advice.
• Pay attention to the trampoline.
Keep it on a flat service away from all obstacles. The frame should be intact and secure. Safety netting should be strong and it should properly separate the jumper from springs, frame, ground and nearby objects. Check the net regularly for signs of weakness, and don’t wait for your child to fall through before replacing it!
• Pay attention to other kids.
Allow one jumper at a time, regardless of the trampoline’s size. Collisions easily cause sprains, bruises, fractures, and lacerations. Also, be sure to lock down the net when it’s not in use, because unauthorized jumping by neighborhood children can lead to severe injuries and lawsuits!
• Pay attention to YOUR kid. He or she should jump up and down. That’s it.
Trying to sit mid-jump can result in knee-to-nose fractures, and attempted flips are a recipe for life-altering head and neck injuries. Fancy maneuvers should be saved for gymnastics class, where trained instructors and proper equipment can save your child from him or herself. At the end of the day, trampolines ARE dangerous, and parents should recognize and respect this fact. Even when equipment is properly maintained and rules are strictly followed, accidents and injuries can happen, some of which may be severe or life-threatening. Of course, the same is true of bicycles and skateboards and swimming pools. If you can’t accept these risks, by all means, wrap your child in bubble wrap… Wait… On second thought… That’s not safe either!