Trampolines: A serious safety hazard

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In the September 2012 issue of the journal Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics has again issued a warning against the use of trampolines. This is the fourth time warnings about them have been given. The other three were in 1977, 1986 and 1999.

According to the article, there were 98,000 trampoline injuries and 3,100 hospitalizations in 2009. Most injuries occur when more than one person at a time is on a trampoline. The smallest people are up to 14 times more likely to be get hurt.

Padding and netting do not seem to decrease injuries. One out of every 200 injuries causes permanent neurological damage. For instance, thinking of the worst case scenario, someone could have a neck injury with permanent paralysis.

Recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics include:

  • Only one person at a time on the trampoline.
  • There should be an adult who knows the safety rules to supervise at all times.
  • The device should be regularly inspected and if it is defective should be discarded.
  • Owners should check with the insurance company to see what kind of coverage, if any, is offered. Some companies don’t offer coverage for trampolines.

As a final note, if all these things are done, there could still be injuries but hopefully they would be fewer, and less severe.

Dr. Don Casebolt of College Place is a retired physician who is passionate about preventive medicine. He spent four years as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy, the last 2 1/2 years as a flight surgeon. He also worked on the Navajo Reservation for 22 years.

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