Turns out trampoline injuries are way more common than most parents realize.
Trampolines are a childhood staple, but it might surprise many parents to find out they’re actually insanely dangerous. An Indianapolis mom recently spoke out about the danger after her two-year-old son spent 16 weeks recovering from a broken leg he got jumping at a local trampoline park.
Carrie Clark tells WTHR News she took her son, Cooper, to a “Toddler Time” event at a SkyZone indoor trampoline park near her house. She says she expected he would get some exercise and wear himself out before nap time, but what she didn’t expect was for their visit to land the toddler in the emergency room. Cooper ended up with a fracture in his left femur and an orange “toe-to-waist” cast that wrapped around his torso.
In hearing about trampoline mishaps, many people assume it was a “freak accident” or the child was behaving badly, but Clark says that’s simply not the case. “He was just jumping, then he came down and started screaming,” explained Clark. “I was right there with him, supervising the whole time… And he’s two. He can only jump so high. How can jumping just a few inches on a trampoline end up in a fractured left femur?”
As it turns out, fractures on trampolines aren’t really a random occurrence. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, hospital records show an estimated 104,691 people suffered trampoline-related injuries in 2014 — the last year for which data is available. Even scarier, about 85 percent of those injuries were in kids, and more than 24,000 of them happened in children ages two to five.
Trampolines are so risky, in fact, even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has taken an official stance. According to their website, pediatricians should advise parents to avoid trampolines entirely, including at indoor parks and the ones intended for backyard use. They also caution that kids younger than five are at the greatest risk for broken bones and other injuries, and the risk of injury increases for all kids any time there’s more than one person jumping on a trampoline.
Dr. Randall Loder, and orthopedic surgeon who spoke with WTHR says the risk is so great simply because “pediatric bone is different than adult bone.” In his opinion, there’s no “safe age” for kids to start jumping on trampolines, and he cautions, “Pediatric bone can fail relatively easily. If the forces are just right, it can snap… People think that a fracture in a child is a simple thing just to put a cast on, but that’s not necessarily true. I don’t think the public really understands the magnitude of the severity of some of these injuries that can happen.”
Trampolines probably aren’t high on most people’s list of things to avoid, but the numbers don’t lie. These things are downright dangerous, and it’s kind of crazy we still consider them a normal, relatively safe activity for little kids. Obviously no one wants to be the alarmist parent, but with tens of thousands of injuries in a single year, it might be best to steer clear of that next trampoline park birthday party.