Children should be banned from jumping on trampolines because they are too dangerous, health officials say.
Citing nearly 100,000 injuries in 2009 alone, the American Academy of Pediatrics has also dismissed the recent addition of safety nets around trampolines.
The Academy claims the nets do not make much difference in terms of safety, but instead lull parents into a false sense of security.
“Pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use,” Dr. Michele LaBotz, lead author of the new AAP statement and a sports medicine physician at Intermed Sports Medicine in Portland, Oregon, told NBC News.
“This is not a toy. It’s a piece of equipment. We recommend that you not provide it for your family or your neighbors to use. But if you do use one, you need to be aware of the risks.”
Dr. Michele LaBotz added: “I think parents see the soft springy mat and they think it’s safe, like water.
“What they don’t realize is that once you get it to bouncing, especially if there are multiple users, it can be dangerous.
“Bigger kids and adults like to rocket propel up the little kids, getting them to bounce higher than they would otherwise and if the kid comes down wrong, it is the same as falling nine or 10 feet onto a hard surface.”
Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) revealed the 75% of trampoline injuries happen when there is more than one person jumping on one.
And it’s the younger, smaller children at greater risk of significant injuries, including fractures of the legs and worse, the spine.
NEISS reported that 37 to 39% of all its recorded injuries were caused by falls from a trampoline.
Dr. Michele LaBotz also highlighted one study that found one in 200 trampoline injuries cause some kind of permanent neurological damage.
In her experience parents often continue to let their children use a trampoline ever after they have been injured because of it.
“There are a number of families, even those with kids who have had significant injuries, who decide they still want the trampoline as part of what they offer to their children,” Dr. Michele LaBotz said.
Dr. Barbara A. Gaines, director of trauma and injury prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told the news station that parents often think an injury caused by a trampoline is “one of those freak things”.
“But these are not just accident,” she adds.
“There is a pattern to them and there’s something we can do to prevent them. It’s not that we don’t want kids to have fun. But injury shouldn’t be an expected part of childhood.”