Keep the Kids Off the Trampoline, Pediatricians Warn

  • Share
  • Read Later
Ben Edwards / Getty Images

Parents should be discouraged from letting kids bounce on trampolines at home, according to an updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Using a trampoline is inherently dangerous, the authors of the report said, and safety features like enclosed netting and padding are insufficient to reduce the risk of injury. Many children still get hurt on trampolines, even under the supervision of a parent or adult.

“Pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use,” said statement co-author Dr. Michele LaBotz, in the updated policy. “Families need to know that many injuries occur on the mat itself, and current data do not appear to demonstrate that netting or padding significantly decrease the risk of injury.”

The majority of trampoline injuries — 75% — occur when more than one person is jumping on the trampoline at a time. Usually the youngest and smallest jumpers are at the highest risk for getting hurt; fractures and dislocations account for 48% of injuries in kids under 5. Overall, fractures and sprains make up the bulk of the harms in any age group, while falls from the apparatus, which can be catastrophic, cause 27% to 39% of all injuries. The statement notes that failed attempts at somersaults and flips frequently cause cervical spine injuries, resulting in permanent and devastating consequences.

(MORE: We Tried This: The Urban Rebounding Workout)

The policy statement notes that trampoline injuries have been on the decline since 2004, but so have trampoline sales. The risk of injury from using the device still remains high: in 2009, there were 98,000 total trampoline-related injuries in the U.S., with 3,100 resulting in hospital visits. In 2004, there were 112,000 injuries and 3,300 hospitalizations.

“Unfortunately, the very forces that make trampoline use fun for many children also lead to unique injury mechanisms and patterns of injury,” the authors write. They argue that trampolines should be reserved as training equipment for specific sports like gymnastics, under the proper supervision of a coach. There’s insufficient data on the safety of the growing number of indoor commercial trampoline parks, the authors said, suggesting these facilities be strongly regulated.

Families who have a trampoline at home should verify that their insurance covers trampoline injury-related claims, the report advises.

Trampoline makers counter that safety precautions like netting enclosures have indeed reduced the risk of injury from trampolines and that the AAP’s report doesn’t acknowledge the health and fitness benefits of trampoline use. “It’s one of the few forms of exercise kids want to do,” Arch Adams, president of Fun Spot Trampolines, in Hartwell, Ga., told USA Today.

MORE: Study: Brain Injuries in Childhood Have Lasting Effects on Learning

12 comments
Susan83
Susan83

i honestly don't see the issue with  kids trampolines. There are risks with everything you do which are either increased by incorrect use or minimised by being used correctly. Doctors warning parents not to let their children on them is ridiculous, if we were to stop our children doing everything that has some sort of risks we would be stopping them from doing everything! I got my son an 8ft Trampoline last summer from http://www.toyzworld.co.uk/outdoor-toys/kids-trampolines.html and we've never had any issues. He knows that he has to used it properly other wise he could hurt himself.


Guy Schultz
Guy Schultz

Wait.  What about the dangers of football, soccer , lacrosse and hockey?  I believe there are something like 2000 injuries treated per day.  How can the pediatricians bring themselves to sign  a medical release form knowing the potential risk of injury.  I met a girl in her late teens who has had 11 concussions from playing soccer.

Unsupervised play without training is the issue.  If you allow 1 child at a time on the device and have them jump up and down (sorry no flipping) your risk are much smaller.

Abbi Biggamehunter Stewart
Abbi Biggamehunter Stewart

Dan Bruce - I totally agree! Also, whilst people want children to be fit and healthy and reduce obesity rates in children - how is warning children off doing great exercise at home on a trampoline going to help?!

I work for a company in Britain who, along with a number of other types of play equipment, manufacture and sell trampolines and their accessories. 

We have always advised people to make sure children bounce one at a time, that adults should supervise their children and appropriate safety measures should be taken such as maintaining safety enclosures and replacing the padding when it has worn out.

It is mainly common sense which prevents injuries, and a few bumps and scrapes is normal for any child with energy - this sort of news is not helpful when trying to encourage parents to get their children outside playing instead of couped up indoors on video games!!

neworld
neworld

here's a good way to keep kids safe: keep them from playing sports and have fun! 

good job, doctors.

Ted Smith
Ted Smith

By all means necessary, keep kids from doing anything that might keep them fit. Other than obesity and the associated complications, keeping them in front of the boob tube and on the computer will keep them out of the pediatricians/orthopedists office. Ban trampolines, skateboards, snowboards, football, soccer, basketball, etc - someone just might get hurt. Bless you for bringing this dangerous activity to our attention.

kcarb1025
kcarb1025

Why dont we just put kids in bubbles? Then they definitely wont be exposed to danger!

saywhaaaa
saywhaaaa

New breaking story just in:

Physiscians say that parents should put their kids in straight jackets, tie them down to a gurney, and then feed them intravenously until they die.

It is much safer that way.

R. G. Price
R. G. Price

It's like most things. If you happen not to get hurt doing it, then it's great and has lots of benefits, but inevitably some portion of people are going to get hurt doing it, and the truth of the matter is that there is NOTHING you can do to eliminate that chance and everyone things that it won't happen to them or their kid, but it does.

This is true of pretty much all physical play activities. Yes, a lot of the higher risk stuff is fun and beneficial for kids... as long as they don't get hurt. But some kids will get hurt, and even killed in the process. Is it worth it? Not when you kid dies or is paralyzed for life...

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

I wish the pediatricians would focus on the danger of over-prescribing drugs to children. That's a real danger, especially to many pediatrician's bottom line, so I doubt we will see much comment on child drug use by physicians.

Flow555
Flow555

As a kid, I loved jumping on the tramolines at our swim club.  You could take lessons, but a lot of kids just learned tricks through trial and error.  The diving coaches used the trampolines to help teach different flips for competitve diving.

What is my point?  Life is dangerous.  It is full of risks.  As a parent, I see my job as helping my kids learn to navigate risk and danger, not to fully avoid it.  When the kid turns 16 he can get a driver's license.  That ia pretty dangerous machine. Isn't it better if he has some experience, real work experience, with figuring out risk, danger and how to conduct himself  in a safe way, before this point?  Where do they get it, if we wrap them in bubble-wrap?

NaveedXVO
NaveedXVO

3,100 hospital injuries..... now assuming all of those were spinal injuries causing paralysis which they certainly weren't. Certainly less than 10%. There are 73.7 million people under the age of 18 in the US according to the census. So 0.0042% of children will get spinal injuries from trampolines if all hospital injuries are spinal injuries per year.

THE COUNTRY IS DOOMED, DOOOOOMEMMEMEMEMEDDDDDD.

How many kids drown per year? NO SWIMMING, NO BATHS. Cars are the leading cause of childhood deaths? NO DRIVING EVER, EVER, FOR ANYONE!!!! 

How did anyone ever live to adulthood 100 years ago right?