Trampoline Safety

The popularity of trampolines as a recreational activity for children has grown steadily over the years. But without proper instruction, supervision and the application
of basic trampoline safety rules, these fun pieces of apparatus can be downright dangerous.

Trampolines are listed by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons as the number three kid sport leading to injuries. According to government estimates, there were almost 100,000 emergency room-treated trampoline injuries in the U.S. last year. Most of these injuries happened on home trampolines, and to children ages 5
through 14. The most catastrophic injuries
on the trampoline are the result of attempting the somersaults or inverted skills or jumping two at the same time.

Common trampoline injuries include:

    * Broken bones (often needing surgery)
    * Concussions and other head injuries
    * Neck and spinal injuries
    * Sprains/strains
    * Bruises, scrapes and cuts

Children are injured on trampolines by:

    * Falling off the trampoline
    * Landing wrong while jumping
    * Attempting stunts
    * Colliding with another person on the trampoline
    * Landing on the springs or frame of the trampoline
Both the Canadian Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that trampolines should never be used at home, in gym classes, or on the playground. Even trampoline safety expert Marc Rabinoff, says backyard trampolines are extremely dangerous, and he himself wouldn't buy one.

Despite their recommendations, trampoline home sales are rising steadily, according to trampoline manufacturers. So how can parents, who choose to have a trampoline in their back yard, keep their kids injury free?

The simplest method is often the one that gets ignored: Failing to read the manufacturer's safety instructions in the user manuals.

What rules get broken the most?

    * more than one person on the the trampoline at one time
    * attempting somersaults and flips
    * improper supervision
    * not installing a safety enclosure
    * not having padding that completely covers metal frame, hooks and all springs
    * not keeping the trampoline away from structures and other play areas.

It goes without saying that safety practices must be taught to children and enforced strictly by parents. A new video and accompanying parent instruction booklet, called High Performance Techniques for Trampoline Safety, offers parents and children guidance on how to use their recreational trampoline appropriately.

The instruction video is designed to help children obtain the maximum health benefit while keeping safety first. "By following the guidelines in the video, parents can help their children cultivate a positive attitude toward safety, think before they act, and accept responsibility for their choices, writes Michael Brook, publisher of the video and a Colorado State Trampoline Champion. Brook strongly recommends parents purchase a safety enclosure for their backyard.