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American Academy of Pediatrics: Trampolines Are Dangerous

Editor Jenny Manning shares her childhood experiences with trampolines. Now let's hear yours — post your memories, thoughts and concerns in the comment section below.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics again released a statement cautioning parents against the use of trampolines at home.

The first warning came in 1999, and the organization reaffirmed its statements in 2006. Today’s report includes updated injury and death statistics, but the group’s key recommendation against the home use of trampolines remains the same: recreational trampolines are dangerous.

Excuse me for a second while I date myself.

My parents never bought a trampoline for my brother or me, but growing up in the mid-eighties I had several friends whose parents owned mini exercise trampolines, and a few more who had the ‘coveted’ jumbo trampolines in their backyards.

I have fond memories of taking turns bouncing on a mini tramp to Disney’s “Mousercise” with my childhood friend Abbey Stopper. But the real fun came several years later when Laura Dommes and I camped in her backyard on top of her giant blue trampoline.

I also fractured my ankle on that trampoline several months later after being double-bounded by another kid twice my size.

This occurred in 1993, six years before the American Academy of Pediatrics released its first report cautioning against the use of trampolines at home.

Today's report calls on pediatricians to continue to educate parents on the possible dangers of trampolines.

“Pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use,” said Michele LaBotz, MD, FAAP, co-author of the updated policy statement. “Families need to know that many injuries occur on the mat itself, and current data do not appear to demonstrate that netting or padding significantly decrease the risk of injury.”

Most trampoline injuries (75 percent) occur when multiple people are jumping on the mat. The smallest and youngest participants are usually at greater risk for significant injury, specifically children 5 years of age or younger. Forty-eight percent of injuries in this age group resulted in fractures or dislocations, according to the report.

These statements describe my experience to a Tee: there were multiple kids jumping at the same time, I was the youngest, and I landed on the mat but still managed to fracture my ankle.

The report includes key recommendations for pediatricians and parents, including:

  • Pediatricians should advise parents and children against recreational trampoline use.
  • Current data on netting and other safety equipment indicates no reduction in injury rates.
  • Failed attempts at somersaults and flips frequently cause cervical spine injuries, resulting in permanent and devastating consequences.
  • Homeowners with a trampoline should verify that their insurance covers trampoline injury-related claims.
  • Rules and regulations for trampoline parks may not be consistent with the AAP guidelines.
  • Trampolines used for a structured sports training program should always have appropriate supervision, coaching, and safety measures in place.

How does this report resonate with your experiences or the experiences of your children?

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