It’s just too risky.
That’s the stand reaffirmed Monday by the nation’s pediatricians on allowing children to play on home trampolines. With nearly 100,000 injuries treated in emergency rooms across the country each year, the American Academy of Pediatrics is warning parents against the recreational use of the equipment at home.
The new statement updates the group’s 1999 recommendations, which led to trampoline manufacturers adding safety measures in an attempt to mitigate the risks.
“Pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use,” said Michele LaBotz, MD, FAAP, 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.”
The risks are plenty. Beyond sprains, strains and contusions, falls from the trampoline make up the bulk of injuries to young users—even when adults are supervising the activity.
Falls accounted for 27 percent to 39 percent of all injuries, and can potentially be catastrophic, according to the policy statement, Trampoline Safety in Childhood and Adolescence, published online Monday in the AAP’s official journal, Pediatrics.
Three-quarters of the injuries occur when more than one child is jumping on the mat. The danger of significant injury is even greater for the child who is younger and smaller than others playing at the same time. In children age 5 or younger, 48 percent of injuries were fractures or dislocations.
In 2009, about 3,100 children suffered an injury on a trampoline that was severe enough to require hospitalization.
Often, the most frightening and alarming trampoline injuries are those to the head and neck, according to the AAP. These injuries can be the most catastrophic of all trampoline injuries suffered. In this category. .5 percent resulted in permanent neurologic damage.
In addition to advising parents against trampoline play, the AAP also recommends homeowners with a trampoline verify that their insurance covers trampoline injury-related claims (trampolines can be considered an “attractive nuisance”); that trampoline parks have rules and regulations consistent with AAP guidelines; and that those who use trampolines for sports training have appropriate supervision, coaching, and safety measures in place.