Are trampolines really a safe activity for children? (By Jonathan Rosenfeld)
When used responsibly, trampolines can provide a lot of entertainment but the rate of injury among minors is staggering. In a study performed in the early 2000s, over 82% of trampoline injuries involved children under the age of 18, signaling the need to evaluate what measures we take to prevent a trampoline injury. Trampoline injury rates may be on the decline when they are used under proper supervision, but there is still a significant risk of injury that is most prevalent for children near the age of 10.
The areas usually affected by trampoline injury are:
- The legs, ankles or feet
- Arms, wrists or hands
More injuries to the lower body occur on trampolines than anywhere else on the body, with a reported 42% of injuries occurring on the lower body as opposed to the chest, arms, head or neck. The severity of injury that each person in the study suffered was alarming as well. 83% of the injuries reported involved some form of fracture which required emergency care.
About 14% of injuries on trampolines involve lacerations that require medical attention. These injuries usually occur when a person lands on his or her head. Knee and elbow scrapes are common if the trampoline is used improperly, but do not pose as great a threat as injuries to the face or neck. The severity of lacerations that occur as a result of trampoline injuries varies greatly depending on how the injury was sustained. Most of these injuries involve some form of stunt or jumping on a trampoline with another person.
The risk of spinal cord injury on trampoline related activities is over 8% on full sized trampolines compared to less than 3% on mini trampolines. Trampoline parks in the Chicago have recently become a popular recreational activity for children of all ages. While the ‘parks’ have reported fewer injuries than anticipated, the biggest factor for their improved safety record is that these facilities require children to use the trampoline independently as opposed to in a group. This simple— yet very effective safety measure– should be taken into consideration when allowing your children to play in a trampoline in a backyard setting in order to reduce the risk of serious injury.
In order to effectively reduce spinal cord injury on trampolines, children should be prohibited from attempting stunts such as flips and back flips. Many injuries occur as the direct result of a stunt gone badly as well as by sharing the trampoline with another person. In general, adults exercise more personal caution and therefore, suffer less injury. More supervision and awareness will help reduce the number of accidents that occur that involve children.
Hopefully the safety measures implemented at trampoline parks in the Chicagoland will serve as a reminder that both homeowners and facilities must be vigilant when it comes to trampoline safety. The safety measures really do work! When the trampoline park opened in Carol Stream, IL there were over three ambulance calls each month due to a trampoline park injury. When it was announced that another park was to be opened in a nearby suburb residents were extremely concerned due to the high rate of injury that was reported from the sister facility. However, by implementing new rules such as only allowing one person on a trampoline at a time, injury rates fell dramatically in both locations.
Even though incident rates have gone down substantially, you must exercise care when allowing your children to play in a trampoline park and in home-based settings. Prevent trampoline accidents by telling your children ahead of time what to avoid and be sure to follow all of the rules for the trampoline before they get on the platform. Further, while it is true that safety measures can reduce the rate of trampolines injuries on trampolines, parents can never let their guard down when the risk of serious injury is present.
About Jonathan Rosenfeld
Jonathan Rosenfeld is the founder of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, and has a law practice devoted to representing children and adults who have been harmed due to the negligence of others.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers
33 North Dearborn Street, #1930
Chicago, IL 60602
Our thanks to Jonathan for this insight into the do’s and don’ts of playing on trampolines. It’s best to not get too fancy with stunts until there’s someone who can give instructions on the proper methods. Play it safe, and have fun. pb