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AAP: Trampolines Are Not Toys

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Today's post comes from Daniel Fagbuyi, MD, FAAP. He's an Emergency Medicine pediatrician and dad of three.

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirmed their stern stance against the recreational use of trampolines.

According to the article, trampoline injury rates have been on a steady decline since 2004, but there were still almost 98,000 trampoline-related injuries in 2009, with 3,100 of those injuries resulting in hospitalizations. The study also revealed that children ages 5 and younger were at the greatest risk of injury with 48 percent of all trampoline-related injuries in this age group resulting in fractures or dislocations.

Last year, at Children’s National Health System, we treated nine patients in the Emergency Department with trampoline-related injuries.

Personally and professionally, I do not support families having trampolines; they’re just too dangerous. I do, however, have some advice for how to keep families safe.

Trampoline Safety Tips

  • Only one person is allowed to jump at a time
  • Must have adult supervision
  • Do not jump with any sharp objects in hand, like a rock or a pencil

When you increase the number of people on a trampoline, the risk of injury increases exponentially, so kids should be jumping in a controlled environment and not playing games on the trampoline. I remember when people used to place mallets on the trampoline and they would fly everywhere. This type of environment could lead to serious injury.

As for jumping at a friend’s house, I probably would not allow my kids to go; I’m just that strict about trampoline safety in my house. However, some rules to think about when sending your child to a friend’s trampoline are:

  • Make sure the parents of the child’s friend understand and implement trampoline safety
  • Make sure your child’s friend is educated on trampoline risks
  • Again, one person on the trampoline at a time

If a child falls from a trampoline, parents should assess the injured area and contact their pediatrician right away. If the child is showing any of the following signs, take your child to the Emergency Department right away:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Signs of a concussion
  • Acting strangely
  • If there is any swelling or tenderness to the injured area
  • If the bones are pliable

There are other ways to play aside from a trampoline. If children want to jump, they can skip rope, jump rope, or do gymnastics. A gymnastics gym setting would be ideal for kids who want to jump and tumble, where they have expertise, coaching, and guidance.


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