A group of orthopedic surgeons is taking steps to raise awareness about the dangers associated with the use of trampolines among children, which cause thousands of serious injuries each year.
In a warning issued July 19, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) indicates that there is no evidence to suggest that netting or other safety equipment reduce the risk of trampoline injuries.
As a result, the group recommends that parents not allow any children under the age of 6 to use trampolines, to limit trampolines to one user at a time and other important safety steps that may mitigate the risk.
More than 100,000 children and adults are treated at emergency rooms every year for fractures, sprains and various other mild and severe injuries. The AAOS seeks to bring awareness to parents and caregivers of the dangers posed by trampolines, which are used much more frequently over the summers months than throughout the rest of the year.
The AAOS reports that recent research by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has indicated more than 295,000 individuals were treated for injuries linked to trampoline use by medical professionals across the U.S. in 2015.
Trampoline injuries can range from mild sprains to severe fractures and breaks, especially for younger children, due to their lack of coordination. The most common trampoline injuries are sprained ankles and fractures to the lower extremities from falls on the trampoline mat, frame or springs, according to the AAOS.
Other commonly reported trampoline problems involve injuries stemming from collisions when more than one person is jumping on the trampoline at a time, attempted stunts such as flips, and falls off of the trampoline onto the ground or into other hard surfaces. CPSC research has shown more the majority of injury reports occur when two or more people are on the trampoline at the same time.
The reports that trampoline injuries most commonly occur in the home environment and more than 90% of those injuries are sustained by children between the ages of five and fourteen years of age.
“We want children to enjoy exercise and physical activity, especially during the summer months, but parents and caregivers should know about the dangers of trampolines and the risk for serious injury, especially in very young children,” AAOS spokesperson and Los Angeles pediatric orthopedic surgeon Jennifer M. Weiss, MD, said in a press release. “Children younger than age 6 are less likely to have the coordination, body awareness, and swift reaction time necessary to keep their bodies, bones and brains safe on trampolines.”
Trampoline injuries rose steadily from 40,000 in 1991 to 110,000 in 2004. While injuries did decrease in 2011 to 80,000, 2015 has indicated the number of injuries requiring emergency room treatment are back on the rise by nearly 20%.
In March 2016, The American Academy of Pediatrics indicated that trampolines are no safer with pads, nets or other protection, despite efforts by manufacturers to include these features with purchases of trampolines in recent years. Many broken bones and other injuries continue to result from standard jumping and falling on the mat of the trampolines, experts have warned.
In 2016, the magazine Health released a report called “8 Things ER Doctors Refuse to Have in Their Homes,” which identifies the most dangerous everyday items that cause emergency room visits. Included in the list among swimming pools, old pain medication and various other common household items, were trampolines.