Trampoline use is a frequent cause of spinal cord injuries with two-thirds of injuries reported in children between the ages of 6, and 14 and 15% of injuries reported in children under the age of 6, according to the American Spinal Injury Association. In fact, the risk of injury is so high that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly discourages using trampolines at home.
According to a recent AAP study, most childhood trampoline injuries occur when multiple jumpers use the mat. Spinal cord injuries also occur with falls off the trampoline, or with attempts at somersaults and flips. The same study also revealed that not much is being done to discourage the sale and use of the popular toy in a residential setting.
Preventive measures include experienced supervision, properly secured netting around the trampoline to reduce the number of falls, and not overcrowding the mat surface. The most catastrophic of spinal cord injuries occur when failed somersaults or flips cause hyperflexion or hyperextension of the cervical spine.
The AAP states, “Many parents and supervising adults do not appear to be aware of key components of trampoline safety, such as limiting use to one user at a time.” The AAP also concludes “Somersaults and flips should not be performed in a recreational setting.”
The recent growth of trampoline use as a competitive sport, the emergence of commercial indoor parks, and the more recently recognized patterns of catastrophic injuries associated with recreational trampoline use, has prompted the AAP to review the current warnings and literature sold with trampolines.