An updated report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cautions against home trampoline use, and provides updated data on the number of and types of injuries caused by trampolines. Since publication of the previous AAP policy statement in 1999 (reaffirmed in 2006), the key recommendation remains consistent against recreational trampoline use, and includes data on injuries unique to trampolines.
In the updated policy statement, “Trampoline Safety in Childhood and Adolescence,” in the October 2012 Pediatrics (published online Sept. 24), the AAP provides pediatricians with guidelines on patterns of injury with trampoline use, the efficacy of current safety measures, and unique injuries attributed to trampoline use.
Trampoline injury rates have steadily been decreasing since 2004. In 2009, however, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) estimated almost 98,000 trampoline-related injuries in the U.S., resulting in 3,100 hospitalizations. The rates of trampoline injury appear higher for children than in adults.
“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.
Common injuries in all age groups include sprains, strains and contusions. Falls from a trampoline accounted for 27 percent to 39 percent of all injuries, and can potentially be catastrophic. Many injuries have occurred even with adult supervision. The AAP policy statement also addresses the safety of trampoline parks. The AAP suggests that the precautions outlined for recreational use also apply to all commercial jump parks. Injury rates at these facilities should continue to be monitored.
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.