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    Docs Warn of Trampoline Dangers for Kids

    September 24th, 2012

    “The home use of trampolines is strongly discouraged.”

    That is the conclusion of a policy statement issued today by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the journal Pediatrics. According to an article on NBCnews.com, Dr. Michele LaBotz believes that pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use.

     “This is not a toy. It’s a piece of equipment. We recommend that you not provide it for your family or your neighbors to use. But if you do use one, you need to be aware of the risks.”

    Parents mistakenly see trampolines as benign playthings, LaBotz said.

    “I think parents see the soft springy mat and they think it’s safe, like water,” LaBotz said. “What they don’t realize is that once you get it to bouncing, especially if there are multiple users, it can be dangerous. Bigger kids and adults like to rocket propel up the little kids, getting them to bounce higher than they would otherwise and if the kid comes down wrong, it is the same as falling 9 or 10 feet onto a hard surface.”

    Each year, there are more than 100,000 trampoline-related injuries in the United States. One of the main issues is that trampoline safety information has not been widely disseminated, so parents and supervising adults aren’t aware of basic safety measures. For example, the most common causes of injuries include:
    • Multiple Simultaneous Users. About three-quarters of injuries happen when multiple people use the trampoline at the same time, with smaller children taking the brunt of the damage.  The problem isn’t just due to bodies colliding with one another–heavier users create more recoil of the mat, which can toss smaller kids around even if they are not near the other jumper.
    • Falls. What goes up must come down…and kids who jump high fall even farther. In the 1990s, manufacturers made netting and perimeter enclosures available to the public. Interestingly, current evidence suggests that this has not significantly affected the proportions of injuries. In other words, the safety nets may do more to allay the fears of parents than to actually protect children.
    • Impact with Frame and Springs. About 20% of trampoline injuries are due to hitting the springs or frame. As with netting, use of padding doesn’t seem to reduce these types of injuries.
    • Lack of Appropriate Adult Supervision. While parents may watch children on the trampoline, up to one-half of injuries occurred despite adult supervision.
    • Type of Activity.  Somersaulting and flipping put jumpers at risk of head and neck injuries, many with permanent devastating consequences.
    While pediatricians are advised to counsel families NOT to use trampolines recreationally, they acknowledge that some will persist. For those families, it is important for homeowners to verify that their insurance policies cover trampoline-reated claims, even if it means taking out a rider for the additional coverage…to insist that no more than one user jump at a time…that trampolines be set on a level surface clear of trees or other surrounding hazards…to inspect padding, net enclosures, and other parts regularly…discourage flips and somersaults…discourage trampoline use unless there is an ACTIVE and knowledgeable adult supervising the play.
    As many of us heard growing up: “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.”  Unfortunately, many trampoline injuries result in permanent disabilities or scarring. Don’t let your child become a statistic.
    To read the full article on NBCnews.com, click here:  Trampolines are no place for kids

    To read the full article in Pediatrics, click here:  Trampoline Safety in Childhood and Adolescence

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