AAP urges people to avoid home, playground trampolines
Home and playground trampolines are dangerous toys for both children and adults and should be avoided, urge American pediatricians. The bouncy devices account for nearly 100,000 emergency room visits each year, causing injuries that in some cases can be catastrophic.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued the statement this week, updating its recommendations from 1999, which led manufacturers of trampolines to add safety features, such as padding and safety nets around the perimeter. Those features did little to change the rate of trampoline-related injuries and if anything provided “a false sense of security,” the group said. The best advice is to avoid home and playground trampolines all together.
The actual risk of injuring oneself on a trampoline is hard to calculate. The rate of hospitalizations from the devices is about three percent, argues Mark Publicover, founder and president of JumpSport Inc., a California-based trampoline manufacturer. He says safety features such as the net enclosures have made the bouncy toys safer and that overall trampolines are safer than other activities kids engage in such as climbing trees or riding skateboards.
But according to the AAP statement, 75 percent of trampoline injuries occur when more than one person is jumping at the same time, especially when one person is heavier than the other. Ankle sprains and fractures make up most of the injuries. And they don’t just happen to children. Earlier this year, New York Yankees baseball pitcher Joba Chamberlain suffered a dislocated ankle while bouncing on a trampoline with his son.
The most dangerous injuries – those of the head and neck – make up 10 to 15 percent of all injuries and those can be catastrophic. According to the AAP, about one in 200 trampoline injuries leads to permanent neurologic damage.
AAP strongly discourages recreational use of trampolines, but for parents who choose to keep the bouncy toys at their homes the AAP recommends checking their insurance policies to ensure trampoline-related claims are covered.