Make Trampolines Off-Limits, AAP Says
< Sep. 26, 2012 > -- Trampolines can cause serious injuries, and parents should not encourage their children to play on them, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) confirmed this week.
In a report published in the journal Pediatrics, the group cited the tens of thousands of injuries that happen each year on trampolines. The injuries range from fractures and dislocations to permanent head and spinal problems. Children appear to be injured more often than older jumpers.
"The very forces that make trampoline use fun for many children also lead to unique injury mechanisms and patterns of injury," the report says. "Pediatricians should only endorse use of trampolines as part of a structured training program with appropriate coaching supervision and safety measures in place."
Accidents still happen
Trampoline injuries have decreased since 2004, but accidents still occur - and safety features like extra padding added by manufacturers have not eliminated the injuries.
"The use of padding with trampolines does not, in reality, safeguard against the high number of injuries on the mat, and may lead to a false sense of added protection," says Robert Glatter, M.D., at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Three-fourths of trampoline injuries happen when more than one person is on the mat, and many occur when an adult is watching.
This isn't the first warning issued by the AAP about trampolines. Its first statement was released in 1999 and updated in 2006.
Jose Rosa-Olivares, M.D., at Miami Children's Hospital, says that he routinely counsels parents on how to avoid sports and recreational injuries and that his advice includes limiting trampoline use.
"We discourage the home and recreational use of trampolines and remind parents of the serious risks associated with their use," Dr. Rosa-Olivares says.
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Most trampoline injuries in the U.S. happen on backyard models. The majority of injuries are to arms and legs, but backs and necks can also be injured - and these can cause serious neurological damage.
Trampoline injuries can happen when a child:
Collides with another jumper
Lands improperly while jumping or doing stunts
Falls or jumps off the trampoline
Falls on the trampoline spring or frame
Safety nets and shock-absorbing pads that cover the springs, hooks, and frame may help prevent some injuries, but they don't eliminate the chance for serious injury.
Always talk with your health care provider for more information.
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American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons - Trampoline and Trampoline Safety
American Academy of Pediatrics - AAP Advises Against Recreational Trampoline Use
Consumer Product Safety Commission - Trampoline Safety