In recent decades, trampolines have become a very popular form of entertainment and exercise for many children across the United States. As the popularity of trampolines has increased, it is now common to see trampolines in the backyards of neighborhoods across the United States.
In fact, sales of trampolines have increased to more than one million per year, according to CBS News.
With the increased use and popularity of trampolines, there has also been a dramatic rise in the number of serious injuries to children and adults while playing on trampolines.
For more than thirty years, medical associations have recommended that children be prohibited from playing on trampolines.
The American Academy of Pediatrics first recommended against the use of trampolines for any recreational or sporting purpose in 1977. In 1998, the American Association of Pediatricians called for a complete ban of consumer trampolines. Yet the popularity of trampolines has only continued to grow.
According to the United States Government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC), trampoline injuries most commonly occur from the following situations:
In 2009, nearly 98,000 people were injured on trampolines, almost triple the number of injuries sustained from trampolines at the beginning of the 1990s. More than 3,100 people were hospitalized due to their injuries.
More than 99 percent of pediatric trampoline injuries occur on privately owned trampolines located mostly at private residences.
Most injuries occur when safety recommendations are not followed according to the publication Pediatrics. The median age of jumpers injured on trampolines is 7.
Head and neck injuries account for more than 10 percent of all trampoline-related emergency room visits. According to a Pediatrics study, spinal injuries are most likely to occur on the trampoline in relation to flip maneuvers.
Three-quarters of all injuries occur when more than one jumper is playing on the trampoline. Trampolines are particularly hazardous to children when adults are jumping on the trampoline at the same time.
A 2010 biomechanical study in the Emergency Medicine Journal which simulated energy forces on a trampoline with a 176 pound adult and 55 pound child found that when the two body masses jump out of sync, the energy transfer to the child is equivalent to a child falling more than 9 feet onto a hard surface. The study’s findings illustrate the significant forces on children’s bodies and the substantial risk of serious injury from jumping on trampolines, particularly when kids jump with larger individuals.
Trampoline manufacturers have responded to the alarming increases in trampoline injuries by making modest safety modifications.
In 1999, the International Trampoline Industry Association agreed to improve the safety practices of the trampoline manufacturers by voluntarily placing warnings on packaging advising against somersaulting and multiple jumpers, extending padding to fully cover frames and springs, and recommending against use by children under age 6. In the early 2000s, some manufacturers made removable nets available for installation on the trampoline
According to one manufacturer, JumpSport, the use of trampoline nets has reduced injuries by up to 50 percent.
However, there is extremely limited data assessing the value of the additional safety features in preventing injury. A recent study, commissioned in part by the trampoline maker, Springfree Trampolines, discovered that falls off trampolines have remained steady over the last twenty years, despite additional safety precautions, including the addition of safety nets by manufacturers to prevent falls off the trampoline.
A 2010 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that there is no evidence in trampoline injury data from 2002 to 2007 to indicate that there was a reduction in injury frequency or severity due to industry safety interventions such as netting enclosures and safety padding. In fact, the same percentage of jumpers continue to sustain injuries from falling off the trampoline as in the mid-1990s.
Despite claims by manufacturers that netting has reduced the frequency of falls off the trampoline, falls off of trampolines continue to account for at least 27 percent of all trampoline injuries, and cause the largest number of head injuries of any injury category, according to Injury Prevention.
The journal Pediatrics highlights that the most serious injuries occur in situations where the individual is on the trampoline and not where they have fallen off the trampoline, which suggests that the value of the nets are limited.
Injuries to jumpers who strike trampoline frames or springs have also remained relatively stagnant in the last decade since the additional safety measures were instituted. Together, injuries resulting from jumpers falling off the trampoline or striking the frame or springs constitute 46 percent of all trampoline injuries, approximately the same proportion as a decade ago.
According to Injury Prevention¸ there may be several reasons for the lack of reduction in trampoline injuries:
In the last decade, the CSPC recalled numerous trampoline products from the market due to safety threats to consumers. Some of the largest recalls of trampolines include:
To verify whether a particular trampoline and trampoline safety device has been recalled, please visit the CSPC Web site to learn more about trampoline-related safety recalls.
If a trampoline is recalled, consumers should immediately stop using the trampoline and contact the manufacturer of the product for information regarding repairs, replacement or reimbursement of the product.
If you suspect or notice that your trampoline has defects or problems consistent with a recall or you believe the problems with your trampoline merit investigation by the manufacturer or the government contact the CSPC recall hotline number is: 1-800-638-2772.
While Consumer Reports and other medical and consumer publications recommend that you do not buy or own a trampoline, if you do own and use a trampoline, consider the following safety recommendations from various safety advocacy organizations and agencies to protect your family, friends, and neighbors:
A new approach is needed to improve trampoline safety, because there is little to no evidence that voluntary safety modifications made by manufacturers have had any positive impact on reducing trampoline injuries.
In 2010, the journal Injury Prevention recommended a number of policy changes to improve the safety of consumers who use trampolines:
To date, none of these recommendations have been adopted by trampoline manufacturers, their trade association, or the government.
Consider contacting the following organizations with suggestions about how to improve trampoline safety or raise public awareness of the safety risks of private trampoline use:
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814
If you or a loved one are injured using a trampoline, seek immediate medical attention.
Preserve the trampoline in a dry and secure place as soon as feasible. Carefully document with photographs or video any safety or product defects you observe. Do not disassemble, modify, or remove anything from the trampoline.
If you are contacted by the manufacturer after the accident, you are not required to provide the manufacturer access to the product. You own the trampoline. You are not required to return the product to the manufacturer.
Report the injury and the specific facts of the incident to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at the CSPC hotline: 1-800-638-2772 or submit an incident report to the general CSPC information portal.
Contact our product liability lawyers immediately and have our team assess your accident: (888) 711-5947
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