Moms Columns & Blogs

Trampoline safety is crucial

Written collaboratively by Abbie Doelger and Paul Smolen MD.

Today we are going to discuss the AAP’s recently published statement about the dangers of trampolines as any of my patients will tell you, this is one of my hot buttons.

I will be right up front: I don’t like trampolines as a toy for children because I see so many injuries on them.broken arms and legs, sprained ankles and necks, and even permanent neurologic injuries. Here is a DocSmo pearl for you- “ “There is no toy that is so much fun that it is worth the risk of your child sustaining a lifelong injury none” I think after you learn a few facts about trampolines in today’s podcast, you will see what I am talking about.

Here is a summary of what health experts say about trampolines from the AAP:

Jumping on a trampoline is dangerous, plain and simple. Approximately 83,000 children a year in the US are injured jumping on trampolines. You heard me, 83,000.

When children jump, especially when multiple children play on the same trampoline, they are at risk of injuring their entire body.

Lower extremity injuries, mostly involving the ankle, account for about 50% of trampoline injuries.

Upper extremity injuries (most commonly bone fractures) account for about 35% of trampoline injuries, and usually occur when a child falls entirely off of the trampoline.

Head and/or neck injuries, the most frightening of them all, account for the final 15% of trampoline injuries, with 0.5% of trampoline injuries resulting in permanent neurologic damage. (Although 0.5% may seem like a minuscule percentage, if your child is unlucky enough to be a part of that 0.5%, your family will be left 100% affected)

The three biggest causes of trampoline-related injuries are multiple children jumping at once, falling off of the trampoline, and collision with the trampoline frame and/or springs. Because children younger than 6 years old typically have less developed motor skills and weigh less than the older children jumping with them, they are at greater risk of dislocating and/or breaking their bones. Somersaulting and flipping increases the risk of head, neck, and spine injury, which can result in devastating and permanent consequences.

So here is DocSmo’s advice to parents about trampolines. If you don’t have one, don’t get it.If you do have a trampoline as I am sure many of your do, here are some important things you can do to minimize problems.

Trampoline rules:

-The trampoline should be placed on a level surface (as close to the ground as possible) and in a hazard-free areaPadding on the trampoline should cover both the frame and the springs and should be frequently inspected to make sure it is in good condition

-Children must be 6 years or older to use the trampoline

-Only one child is allowed on the trampoline at a time—not only is this the safest option, but it also provides your children with an opportunity to practice the art of sharing and turn-taking

-Somersaults and flips are not permitted under any circumstances

Active supervision by adults willing and able to enforce the rules should occur at all times. Remember, (Doc Smo pearl) “Adult Supervision” requires that adults actually supervise!!!!

Well, I hope that was helpful. Portable, practical, pediatrics is our goal with every post. If you have a story about trampolines that you want to tell, or any comments you think our listeners would like to hear, take a moment to send a comment into my website, or post a comment on iTunes. Your feedback is invaluable.

Dr. Paul Smolen has been practicing pediatrics for 32 years as an attending physician at Carolinas Medical Center, an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine-Chapel Hill, and a private practitioner.

To learn more about Dr. Smolen, click here.

DocSmo is a member of the Charlotte News Alliance, a consortium of local media partners.