Unsupervised Trampoline Use Contributes to Jump in Children’s Injuries

Published: June 12, 2005  |  Source: biz.yahoo.com

Orthopaedic Surgeons Offer Tips to Avoid Trampoline Dangers

ROSEMONT, Ill., June 13 /PRNewswire/ — Trampolines are now rivaling swing sets and sandboxes as the staple in American backyards. While these seemingly harmless structures can provide endless outdoor amusement for children and adults, they can also cause serious injury — and in some cases even death — if proper precautions are not taken. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), backyard trampolines sent more than 211,000 kids between the ages of 0 and 19 to hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics in 2003, translating into nearly $4.2 billion in medical, work-loss, pain and suffering and legal costs. The number of trampoline injuries has escalated by more than 13,500 from the year 2002 to 2003: an increase of almost seven percent. Because nearly all of these injuries occurred on trampolines in private home backyards, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) does not recommend recreational use of trampolines, and stresses the importance of safety and adult supervision for those who elect to use trampolines this summer.

Sprains, fractures, scrapes, bruises and cuts are common injuries associated with trampoline jumping. The most common causes of trampoline- related injuries result from colliding with another person, landing improperly while jumping or doing stunts, falling or jumping off the trampoline and hitting the trampoline’s springs or frame. Younger children are at much greater risk for fractures, while older children more often suffer sprains and strains. Although severe or life-threatening injuries are not common, they do occur — such as neck and spinal cord injuries — which can result in paralysis.

“The number of children sustaining severe injuries from trampoline use is increasing,” said Timothy E. Kremchek, MD, orthopaedic surgeon and member of the AAOS. “Each season, parents should review trampoline injury prevention information, set rules and always supervise jumpers to spot them and to ensure they adhere to manufacturer and AAOS safety precautions.”

In an effort to reduce the number and severity of trampoline injuries, the Academy recommends routinely following the below safety tips:

Use of trampolines for physical education, competitive gymnastics, diving training and other similar activities requires careful adult supervision and proper safety measures.

Trampolines should not be used for unsupervised recreational activity.

Competent adult supervision and instruction is mandatory for children at all times.

Only one person should use a trampoline at a time.

Trampoline legs should be placed firmly into a hole slightly wider and longer than the trampoline frame, and deep enough so that the mat is level with the ground.

The supporting bars, hooks, springs, strings and surrounding landing surfaces should be completely covered with adequate shock-absorbent protective padding.

Place the trampoline away from structures, fences, trees and other play areas.

Adult spotters must be present when participants are jumping.

Somersaults or high-risk maneuvers should never be attempted without appropriate supervision and instruction; these maneuvers should be done only with proper use of protective equipment, such as a harness and helmet.
Do not use the trampoline in inclement weather conditions like rain or snow.

Tip the trampoline onto its side (if possible) when not in use to prevent jumping without proper supervision.

Internet users can find additional physician-reviewed safety tips and injury prevention information in the Prevent Injuries America!® Program section of the Academy’s web site, http://www.aaos.org or http://www.orthoinfo.org , or call the Academy’s Public Service line at 800-824-BONES.

An orthopaedic surgeon is a physician with extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of non-surgical as well as surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves.

With more than 28,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons ( http://www.aaos.org ) or ( http://www.orthoinfo.org ), is a not- for-profit organization that provides education programs for orthopaedic surgeons, allied health professionals and the public. An advocate for improved patient care, the Academy is participating in the Bone and Joint Decade ( http://www.usbjd.org ), the global initiative in the years 2002-2011 to raise awareness of musculoskeletal health to stimulate research and improve people’s quality of life. President Bush has declared the years 2002-2011 National Bone and Joint Decade in support of these objectives. The AAOS will celebrate its 75th Anniversary at our 2008 Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Visit http://www.aaos.org/75years/ and be a part of our history!

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons