A recent study, led by doctor Kathryn E Kasmir of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, reveals that as the number of trampoline parks across the US increases each year, so are the emergency department visits for injuries sustained in these trampoline parks.
The results of the study reveal that the number of trampoline park injuries increased from 581 in the year 2010 to a considerable 6,932 in the year 2014. This increase in wounds was accompanied by a simultaneous rapid increase in the number of trampoline parks themselves — from 35-40 in the year 2011 to a seven fold increase, 280 to be precise, by the year 2014. The only consolation in the study was the fact that the number of injuries per any particular park was not increasing, the increase is solely due to an increase in the number of parks.
“I don’t think trampoline park injuries are increasing because they are especially dangerous compared to home trampolines, but rather because of their growing popularity and the increasing number/availability of these facilities,” remarked doctor Kasmir.
However, the number of such parks is still increasing. During the time this study was being conducted, trampoline parks were expected to increase to a count of 450 by the end of year 2015.
Dangers Associated With Trampolines
What is so dangerous about these elastic stretches of polypropylene polymer? Well, for starters, when the jumper is in the air, they have no control due to a lack of solid footing because of the elastic surface of the trampoline, making it a recipe for unruly motion.
The participant is bound to lose control eventually if he or she is not a professional. In the case there is not enough protective padding, the jumper may hit the frame or fall off the trampoline (there are even genuine chances of you getting hurt while you’re on the surface of the trampoline). The damage usually results from a sprain, strains or a fracture.
However, if someone feels especially reckless, the chances of getting an injury can be increased several fold by jumping on a trampoline that already has a person bouncing. The reason is simple: if more than one person jumps on the same trampoline the chances of collision increase and the level of concentration and control any one jumper can exert is diverted to solely dodging a collision. Furthermore, novel acts like a flip or summersault may appear tempting, but could end up in an injury.
The question then arises is as to why such a dangerous ‘activity’ was designed for the average Joe? Trampolines were never made for domestic time pass.
The president of the Child Injury Prevention Alliance in Columbus, Ohio, Dr Gary Smith told Reuters, “Trampolines were originally developed as a device for use by acrobats, gymnasts, fighter pilots, etc. They were never intended to be used as a backyard toy.”
Trampolines are known to have been the cause of 11 deaths during the decade 1990-1999; but sadly, the contraption has gone on to become ubiquitous over the decade. The majority of the 100,000 emergency department patients injured due to trampolines each year have been kids under 14 years. Though injuries from trampoline parks were measured to be less than 10,000 in the current study, this figure might be underestimated.
The data for this study was taken from National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, and therefore it is highly likely that certain cases that resulted from a trampoline park did not get included in the stats as the facility might have not been disclosed.
The data however did substantiate one thing that the severity of injuries suffered from a trampoline at home are usually worse than those suffered at the park. The park is less likely to result in an open fracture, spinal cord, head or a neck injury.
However, patients with injuries resulting from trampoline parks were more likely to get admitted into a hospital than those who got the injury at home.
Trampolines Safety And Expert Recommendations On Trampoline Usage
The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advocates that parents not purchase or allow their children to use a trampoline at home. Experts advise that when sending your children to a trampoline park, one should always know the safety standards and whether they are good enough. Only one person should be allowed to mount a trampoline at a time. In particular, it should be noted that there is apt adult supervision present at all times.
Summersault and flips should not be allowed without proper harness. Know that netting has not been proven to provide high safety standards and make sure that enough of safety padding is present. In case, there are no barriers along the trampoline boundary, the trampoline should not be elevated from the surface near it and be at the ground level.