SALT LAKE CITY — It is important for children to get outside and move, but there is one form of exercise physicians say should be used with caution.
Pediatricians say backyard trampolines are just too dangerous for children to use. The new statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to keep their children off trampolines.
The report shows that although injury rates have decreased in the last decade, almost 98,000 people were hurt using trampolines in 2009, resulting in 3,100 hospitalizations. Most of the injuries (75%) happened when more than one person is jumping at the same time.
"We can't always predict what's going to happen, but we know that if we allow more than one child on the trampoline we are putting those kids at a greater risk," said Janet Brooks, child safety specialist at Primary Children's Medical Center.
Pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use. 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.
The report says the smallest and youngest children are usually at a higher risk of a significant injury. Approximately 48 percent of children 5 years of age or younger most often see fractures or dislocations.
"Pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use," said Michele LaBotz, co-author of the AAP 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."
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.
- Rules and regulations for trampoline parks may not be consistent with the AAP guideline.
- Trampolines used for structured sports training programs should always have appropriate supervision, coaching and safety measure in place.
Homeowners who have trampolines are encouraged to make sure their insurance covers trampoline-related injuries. Additionally, all trampoline use should be supervised, even those used in sports training programs.