Dramatic jump in trampoline-related injuries raises red flag for children’s safety
They’re everywhere these days; in club playgrounds, at family restaurants, even in schools. Children can be seen bouncing ecstatically on the trampolines, some even daring a stunt or two. Parents willingly give in to their children’s pleas to bounce on the trampolines, hoping for a few minutes of respite.
But are they safe?
The number of emergency room visits by children injured on trampolines has more than doubled over the past decade, a new US study shows.
While trampolines haven’t quite infiltrated the Egyptian market as widely as in the US (probably due to lack of home gardens), and the lack of local statistics on bounce-related incidents, it’s probably wise to heed these warning signs.
There were just over half a million such visits in the US in 2000-2005, compared to a quarter-million in 1990-1995, Dr. James G. Linakis of Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues found.
The amount of the increase astounded us, Linakis told Reuters Health, noting that in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urged pediatricians to tell parents not to buy trampolines for home use, or let their children use home trampolines. For whatever reason the message doesn t seem to be getting through, he said.
The AAP first called for a ban on trampolines in schools in 1977. Four years later, the group allowed for a trial period of limited trampoline use in schools, but stated that the trampoline should never be used in home or recreational settings.
To understand whether safety warnings might have led to a drop in pediatric trampoline injuries, Linakis and his team looked at data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. They found a 113 percent increase in these injuries between 1990-1995 and 2000-2005. During both time periods, 95 percent of the injuries had occurred on home trampolines.
The dramatic increase was likely due to the increased availability of home trampolines, Linakis and his colleagues say. People can now purchase a backyard trampoline for about $200, they note in their report in Academic Emergency Medicine, and 1.2 million new trampolines were sold in the US in 2004.
Thirteen percent of the 2000-2005 injuries occurred in children younger than 5, and most injuries in these younger children were fractures. Among older children, soft tissue injuries such as bumps and bruises were the most frequent injury type.
While bumps and bruises may not sound serious, Linakis noted, it s important to note that these injuries were severe enough to bring children to the emergency room.
He said that within the last few months, he personally has seen two or three children with really nasty fractures due to trampoline use, which resulted in serious complications and required several surgeries to treat.
According to Linakis, home trampolines can never be truly safe. Parents really practically can t supervise kids to the extent that they need to be supervised on a trampoline, he said.
He and his colleagues conclude: Emergency physicians should join our pediatrician colleagues in their recommendation to parents to never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to use home trampolines, and advocate additional interventions to address this injury problem. With Reuters