Bouncing up and down on a home trampoline
may look like fun, but the popular piece of backyard equipment is
"intrinsically dangerous" and should be strongly discouraged, says the
co-author of an updated pediatricians' policy statement.
safety features such as netting enclosures and padding do not
significantly decrease the risk of injury, says Portland, Maine sports
medicine pediatrician Michele LaBotz, co-author of the American Academy
of Pediatrics' statement on trampoline safety. The policy is published
today in the journal Pediatrics.
the new statement says there is insufficient data regarding safety at
the growing number of trampoline parks, it adds that the equipment does
have an acceptable role when used as part of a structured athletic
training program with "appropriate coaching, supervision and safety
measures in place."
The American Academy of
Orthopedic Surgeons, The Canadian Pediatric Society, and the Canadian
Academy of Sports Medicine have all issued similar statements
discouraging recreational and playground use of trampolines, citing
Although the report notes
that trampoline sales -- and injuries -- peaked several years ago and
have been decreasing since then, the trend "is not down in terms of
severity or the pattern of injuries," LaBotz says.
National Electronic Injury Surveillance System estimates that 98,000
trampoline-related injuries occurred in 2009, the most recent year for
which statistics are available, resulting in 3,100
hospitalizations.That's down from 3,300 hospitalizations and 112,000
injuries in 2004.
About 75% of trampoline
injuries occur when multiple people are jumping, and kids 5 and under
are usually at greater risk for significant injury, the group says.
Fractures and dislocations make up 48% of injuries. Common injuries in
all age groups include sprains, strains and contusions.
March, New York Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain suffered a
major ankle injury while jumping on a trampoline with his 5-year-old son
at a trampoline park.
Falls from a trampoline
accounted for 27% to 39% of all injuries, and can potentially be
catastrophic, resulting in head and neck injuries, says LaBotz. Several
reports put head and neck injuries at 10% to 17% of all
trampoline-related injuries, the policy statement says. It notes that
many injuries have occurred even with adult supervision.
lot of people just don't recognize the intrinsic risks or even the
liability associated with having a recreational trampoline," LaBotz
says, adding that many home insurance policies have trampoline
exclusions or mandate that they are within enclosed areas with
Trampoline makers say the
pediatricians' statement is based on insufficient current data and fails
to acknowledge the valuable health benefits associated with trampoline
"The dramatic drop in the number of
injuries is the result of safety enclosures," says Mark Publicover, CEO
of San Jose, Calif.-based JumpSport. He created the first trampoline
safety net enclosure. "It's had the same effect for trampolines that
bicycle helmets have had for bike safety," he says. Today about 85% of
the approximately 900,000 consumer trampolines sold are purchased with a
safety net, Publicover adds.
Jumping on a
trampoline is a great way to get a vigorous workout, the very thing
American children need today, says Arch Adams, president of Fun Spot
Trampolines, in Hartwell, Ga. "It's one of the few forms of exercise
kids want to do."
What's most important, he
says, is that users follow industry guidelines and heed warnings
included with all consumer trampolines: one jumper at a time; no
somersaults, and adult supervision is essential.