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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Trampolines 'not worth the risk'

25th September 2012

American doctors have warned parents that the risks of injury associated with trampolining may outweigh the benefits of having a trampoline in the back garden.


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said in a recent policy statement that trampolines can cause serious injury to children, especially very young ones.

The statement, published in the October edition of the journal Pediatrics, called on parents not to let their children use a trampoline at home.

The dangers are still present, even if the children are supervised by an adult.

According to statement co-author Susannah Briskin, between a third and a half of all trampoline injuries in children happen while an adult is watching.

She said the fact that such injuries still occur suggests that adults are not appropriately controlling their children's behaviour while they are on the trampoline.

The researchers took a closer look at existing data in drafting their policy statement, and found that the smallest children are the most likely to sustain injuries from trampoline.

However, they said that older children were more likely to take risks, including attempting back flips or somersaults, moves that can result in serious injuries to the head and neck, even leading to paralysis in some cases.

Broken bones and bruising were also a common outcome from children falling off the trampoline, off the frame or from mis-timing flips.

More than 97,000 injuries were reported among American children in 2009 from trampolining, resulting in 3,100 hospitalisations, the AAP said.

The majority of them were small, and the youngest children were 14 times more likely to get hurt than older children, and more seriously. Nearly half of the injuries reported in children aged five and under were broken bones and dislocations. Their heads weigh disproportionately more, relative to overall body weight, so young children are more likely to land on their heads during a fall.

One in 200 trampoline accidents resulted in permanent neurologic damage, and head and neck injuries accounted for as much as 17% of such injuries.

About three quarters of such accidents happen when more than one person is jumping at the same time, and about one in five of accidents were caused by a person hitting the frame or springs of the trampoline.

Pads added by manufacturers in an attempt to cushion the rigid parts of the trampoline were often not effective, possibly because they deteriorate soon after being left out of doors.

Netting around the trampoline was of little use when it came to protecting trampoliners from injury, the statement added.

According to Adam Vella, who directs emergency paediatric services at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, trampolining is dangerous for children, and should be avoided altogether.

He said it was impossible to make trampolining safe, and that the fun was not worth the risk of losing the use of a limb for several weeks due to a fracture.


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