Children love to jump on them, but trampolines also carry inherent risks.
If your child is invited to a trampoline party, these tips from a pediatrician
can help your family avoid serious injuries.
While a trampoline provides great fun and exercise, trampoline jumping
poses an extremely high risk of injury for children. This risk is so high,
the American Academy of Pediatrics actually cautions against using trampolines
at home. But as trampoline parks continue to surge in popularity, parents
need to be aware of the dangers and take the necessary precautions to
keep their kids safe.
Research published in the journal
Pediatrics has linked the increasing number of trampoline parks to a spike in injuries
to children. Almost a quarter million trampoline injuries are treated
annually in the United States, three-fourths of them occurring in children
14 or younger. This figure represents a 12-fold increase between 2010
and 2014, and the number of cases reported continues to spiral upward.
Of these trampoline injuries, 40 percent are to legs and feet, followed
by arms or hands (29 percent), head, face or neck (20 percent) and shoulder
or trunk (10 percent). Most of these injuries are the result of jumpers
colliding, falling off the trampoline or doing “stunts.” How
and why did these occurrences get so out of control? And what are the
first steps parents need to take to keep their child from becoming a statistic?
"First of all, parents need to learn what the actual risks are at
these trampoline parks," says
Katherine Williamson, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at
Mission Hospital. There’s very little in terms of standard practices applied across
how parks are operated, and the rules vary greatly. For example, some
enforce a limit on the number of jumpers, and others don’t. Some
parks forbid stunts like flipping or somersaults, but others let people
try just about anything.
And while parks usually do offer safety features like padded walls, and
provide supervision, this can actually lead to a false sense of security
to parents who assume everything is fine. “It’s really up
to the parents to do due diligence in knowing in advance what to do and
what to avoid,” added Dr. Williamson. “And there are several
easy measures you can take that will keep your children reasonably safe
without removing the fun.”
If your child is invited to a trampoline park, follow these safety guidelines.
- Children age 5 and under should not be permitted on a trampoline.
- Supervise children at all times, and have adult spotters around the edge
of the trampoline.
- Don’t let your children jump if the trampoline seems to be crowded
– one at a time is best.
- Provide the same type of protective gear used when roller blading or biking
– e.g., elbow, wrist, and knee pads, and yes, even helmets.
- Don’t allow children to do flips or other high-risk "tricks."
- Discourage kids from trying moves that are beyond their skill level. This
also means not letting them jump too high; they may lose control and jump
off the trampoline.
Learn more about
Dr. Williamson. Learn more about
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