My daughter is a gymnast and trains on a trampoline at the gym. Now she wants one for home. My husband doesn’t like the idea because he feels trampolines are not safe. I am worried that the kids in the neighborhood are going to want to play on it. How dangerous are trampolines? If we do purchase one, what can we do to prevent injuries?
“On the fence about trampolines in N.J.”
Dear “On the fence about trampolines”,
Trampolines have gained popularity over the last 10 years and so have trampoline injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission report using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) revealed hospital emergency department visits due to trampoline injuries almost tripled during the last decade, from an estimated 37,500 in l991 to almost 100,000 in 2000. (1) Injuries most commonly occur when jumpers collide into each other, when jumpers attempt stunts, fall or jump off of the trampoline or fall onto the trampoline frame and springs. Six deaths from spinal cord injuries occurred when children, ages 12 – 19 fell off of the equipment.(2) The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that trampolines not be used at home, as part of routine physical education class in school or be part of outdoor playground equipment. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends that there only be a single supervised child per trampoline with designated spotters at all times. The trampoline should be placed at ground level with adequate protective padding of the supporting bars strings and landing surfaces.
Having said that, thousands of households own trampolines and if you do not purchase one, chances are your daughter will be at a friend or relative’s home that has one. Therefore I recommend educating your daughter regarding trampoline safety. Stunts should only be performed during supervised lessons in gymnastic class on a trampoline with trained professionals, not at home. Always abide by the one person at a time on the trampoline rule, and always under supervision.
If you do decide to purchase a trampoline, make sure you install it on flat ground and pad the supporting bars and landing surfaces. Purchase a trampoline with protective netting which may help prevent children from falling off of the trampoline. In regards to your concern about neighborhood children, know that children under 6 years old are not recommended to go on trampolines. So don’t be afraid to be firm with your household rules from the beginning. This will save you a lot of battles in the future. Otherwise you will end up spending your entire day on trampoline monitoring duty. It’s a good idea to set up the trampoline in a non-accessible area, preferably behind a locked gate in order to prevent neighborhood kids from helping themselves to an unsupervised flip!
(1) Bautista, S., Flynn, J. Trauma Prevention in Children. Pediatric Annals.2006;35(20):88-89.
(2) US Consumer Product Safety Commission. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System Coding Manual, 2003. Washington, DC: US Consumer Product Safety Commission; 2003.
Lisa Kelly R.N., P.N.P., C.
Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Pediatric Advice About Keeping Kids Safe