A couple of summers ago, my son went off with his high school friends for an evening of jumping at a brand new trampoline park.
Within an hour of his departure, I got the phone call. He was sitting on the sidelines with an ice pack on his ankle, a mere five minutes after he took his first jump. It turned out to be a very inconvenient and painful sprain, and he hobbled around for days.
Although trampoline injury rates have declined steadily since 2004, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) estimated that 98,000 trampoline-related injuries were reported in the U.S. in 2009, resulting in 3,100 hospitalizations.
An updated policy report to be published in the October issue of Pediatrics updates the injury rates associated with trampoline use. The AAP policy statement also addresses the safety of trampoline parks, and recommends that the precautions outlined for recreational use apply to all commercial jump parks.
Netting or padding the area around the trampoline doesn’t seem to decrease the risk of injury. Many injuries occurred even when children were jumping with adult supervision.
Common injuries from jumping in all age groups include sprains, strains and contusions. According to the AAP, 75 percent of trampoline injuries occur when multiple people are jumping on the mat, as was the case when my son was injured.
The smallest and youngest participants are usually at greater risk for significant injury, particularly for kids 5 and under. For that age group, 48 percent of the injuries resulted in fractures or dislocations. Many injuries have occurred even with adult supervision.
Cervical spine injuries are typically caused by failed attempts at somersaults and flips, which frequently cause permanent and devastating consequences. Falls from a trampoline accounted for 27 percent to 39 percent of all injuries, and have the potential to cause the most catastrophic injuries.
Additional cautions noted in the AAP report:
- Rules and regulations for trampoline parks may not be consistent with the AAP guidelines.
- Trampolines used for a structured sports training program should always have appropriate supervision, coaching, and safety measures in place.
- Homeowners with trampolines should verify that their insurance covers trampoline injury-related claims.