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Health Stories

Trampolines — CHEO Urges Parents to Recognize Dangers

You might find your young ones lobbying for the addition of this backyard play thing in your yard this summer. Recognized in 2000 as an Olympic sport, it is no longer just a gym class novelty. Despite its popularity, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario is urging parents to recognize the dangers and risks associated with them.

“Injuries from trampolines are preventable injuries. It’s important to remind parents and caregivers, at this time of year especially, that trampolining is a high risk activity and that there is the potential for significant injury to children,” says Dr. Martin Osmond, CEO and Scientific Director of the CHEO Research Institute, and a pediatric emergency physician. “The potential for trampolines to cause serious injury has been shown repeatedly over the years, and one of the primary concerns is that inadequate supervision often leads to these injuries.”

Last year, Geoff and Linda Evans spent a few horrific hours as they feared their daughter might be paralyzed from a trampoline injury. Luckily, 9-year old Jenna had no damage to her spinal cord but did have two fractured vertebras in her spine. Thankfully, she was able to fully recover shortly after her injury. However, her parents were shocked to hear that CHEO sees more than 50 patients a year with trampoline-related injuries and that the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that trampolines should not be used in the home environment, in routine physical education class or in outdoor playgrounds.

According to the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP), injuries related to trampoline use almost quadrupled throughout the 1990’s. Injuries were primarily caused by collisions with other jumpers, improper landing, falling onto the springs or frames, or falling off the trampoline completely.

Adult supervision is considered to be the most important safety consideration for children using a trampoline. Recognizing the popularity of trampolines, CHEO offers these safety tips and guidelines for safe backyard trampoline use this summer.

  1. Children should not use the trampoline without adult supervision. Ideally 4 spotters should be present when participants are jumping.
  2. Only one person should use the trampoline at a time.
  3. Children younger than 6 years should not use the trampoline.
  4. Children should never be allowed to jump onto the trampoline from high objects.
  5. Somersaults or high-risk maneuvers should be avoided
  6. A safety pad should cover all portions of the steel frame and springs.
  7. A surrounding net may prevent children from falling off the trampoline. The netting may decrease the injury rate but this has not been proven yet.
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