Most of us can remember our first few jumps on a trampoline. The acceleration, gravitational forces, and the weightless feeling were all so pleasing it would put an instant grin on anyone’s face. I think most parents think back to their childhood enjoyment on a trampoline and want their children to experience the same excitement and fun.
What most people probably do not realize is truly how much risk is involved when purchasing a trampoline for their children. No one wants their children to suffer concussions, oral trauma, strains, or tibia (shin bone) fractures…do they?
Common injuries associated with trampolines
Consumer Product Safety Review reported nearly 105,000 trampoline injuries in 2014.
Most injuries with trampoline use are due to jumpers bumping into each other, trying to do stunts, rebound energy of the trampoline into the lower extremity, falling off the trampoline or falling onto the frame or springs of the trampoline.
At Children’s Hospital Colorado, we see fractures from trampoline injuries almost every week in the summer months. Most of these injuries include lower extremity fractures just below the knee. Even after these fractures have healed, there is a risk of further angulation of the leg months to years down the road.
Tibia (shinbone) fractures commonly occur when a larger child or adult is rebounding upwards and a smaller child simultaneously is landing on the trampoline, causing a significant compression force to the lower extremity. If this compression force is large enough, a buckle (or compression) type fracture can be suffered in the top of the tibia.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that boys and girls are injured at approximately the same rate. Home-use trampolines actually cause most of the overall trampoline-related injuries, and the AAP has gone so far as to recommend that parents never purchase trampolines for homes and never allow their children to jump on trampolines at someone else’s home. The AAP also warns parents and guardians to make sure their children’s schools do not have trampolines.
Does your insurance company cover trampoline-related injuries?
Another thing for parents to consider is whether or not their homeowners insurance covers injuries sustained from trampolines. Many insurance companies have exclusions for trampoline injuries in their policies.
Parents should know that if they own a trampoline, they could be responsible for medical bills/legal costs if children, other than their own, are injured while playing on their trampoline.
Steps to reduce the risk of trampoline injuries
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends several steps to reduce the risk of serious injuries:
- Only one person at a time should jump on the trampoline
- Do not allow jumpers to attempt somersaults
- Always keep the trampoline springs covered with padding
- Do not place the trampoline near trees or other structures
- Only allow children 6 and older to jump on full-sized trampolines
- Supervise all children on trampolines
- Place an enclosure around the trampoline to prevent falls to the ground
- Do not place a ladder near the trampoline because small children can potentially climb the ladder and jump unassisted
Check out more sports safety articles.
Written by: Aaron J. Provance, MD, Medical Director Pediatric Sports Medicine Program Children’s Hospital Colorado Department of Orthopedics. To learn more, read our injury prevention articles, or schedule an appointment at 720-777-6600. We are happy to consult with parents or referring providers before a patient is seen at Children’s Colorado.