Health group: Trampolines too dangerous for children

Posted at 6:27 PM, Sep 24, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-25 12:23:29-04

Jumping on the trampoline is a popular childhood pastime, but one that carries with it an inherent risk.

“The problem is the equipment, the supervision and the skill level of the young person or the athlete,” said Dr. Robert Burks, Orthopedic surgeon at the University of Utah. “Collar bone fractures, shoulder dislocations, things like that. But perhaps more of a concern are some of the spine and head injuries that can happen that I might not personally see, but that clearly the emergency rooms get hit with.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says emergency rooms across the country treat nearly 100,000 injuries a year from bouncing on the trampoline. Close to 1/3 result in a hospital stay.

Monday the national organization publically changed their stance on the backyard toy, discouraging their use.

“Pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use,” said Dr. Michele LaBotz, co-author of the updated policy statement. “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.”

While jumping on a spring mat does have risks, parents say almost anything they let their kids do has some sort of risk.

“Skiing isn’t safe,” said Kaysville mom Trisha Brown. “Skateboarding, riding your bike isn’t safe.  Everything comes with risk.”

“Swimming is what’s scary to me so I put my kids in swimming lessons,” said Emily Murphy. “That gives me anxiety, but the trampoline I feel a little okay about.”

The AAP says if parents do let their kids jump, there are a number of tips to make the activity safer.

Those steps include checking that your insurance police covers trampoline-related claims, using the mat one at a time, having effective padding around springs and frame, placing the trampoline on level ground, avoiding somersaults and flips and actively supervising kids.

The new statement is in line with advice from other medical organizations, who also discourage the recreational use of trampolines.

See the entire statement here.