Trampoline Fractures Sent More than 250K People to ER Over Past Decade

While health experts have been warning parents for years about the risks associated with home trampolines, a new study indicates that more than a quarter million people were sent to the emergency room over the post decade after suffering bone fractures, with the vast majority of the injuries impacting children.

In a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, researchers analyzed data from more than one million emergency room (ER) visits across the country involving trampoline accidents or injuries.

The research revealed of the one million trampoline related injuries between 2002 and 2011, more than 288,000 involved bone fractures, at a cost of more than $400 million. The study involved data from the Electronic Injury Surveillance System, taken from a sample of 100 hospitals across the United States.

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Nearly 60% of the trampoline fractures involved injuries to the forearms, elbows, hands or fingers. Injuries to the lower leg, tibia, fibula and ankles typically resulted in a break.

A total of 2,807 serious spinal fractures on trampolines were reported during the ten year period, with four percent of the overall fractures to areas of the axial skeleton, such as the spine, head, ribs and sternum.

The average age of individuals who suffered a trampoline injury was only nine years, but the average age of patients who suffered skeletal injuries were 16 years old. Researchers speculate this is because older children tend to jump higher and take more risks while using trampolines.

Researchers also speculate the costs associated with trampoline injuries are seriously underestimated, considering it is likely that many patients went to urgent care centers or family physicians for treatment instead of the emergency room.

The cost also does not reflect non-emergency room care, surgery, physical therapy or other treatments needed after the initial emergency room treatment for more serious injuries.

Trampoline Injuries Occur in Backyards

Of the injuries reviewed over the past decade, 95% occurred on trampolines at private homes, as opposed to public trampoline play yards. The findings reinforce prior warnings issued by many health and safety experts, who have indicated that parents should never allow trampolines in their backyards.

Dr. Randall T. Loder, chair of IU School of Medicine Department of Orthopedic Surgery, lead the study. This is the first large scale study focusing on trampoline injuries, which offers a perspective of the magnitude of the problem around trampoline injuries across the country.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons strongly advise against home trampoline use. Loder went as far as to recommend home trampolines be banned, calling them a significant health problem.

Just last year a 9-year-old Utah girl died after being thrown 150 feet from a trampoline. The girl was reportedly jumping on a trampoline when it was blown over by a gust of wind, throwing her from it and killing her.

The trampoline in question was properly anchored to the ground and had a safety net. Her death is being considered a freak accident, but is another reason experts are calling for trampolines to be banned.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2012 highlighted the dangers of trampolines. The initial report assembled by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicated there was no way to make a trampoline safe, including typical safety procedures, like anchoring and netting. Most of the injuries occurred when multiple users were on the trampoline.

Trampoline injuries rose steadily from 40,000 in 1991 to 110,000 in 2004. While injuries did decrease in 2011 to 80,000, critics say the numbers are not falling quick enough and trampolines still pose a significant risk to children across the country.


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