Trampolines send 1 million kids to ED annually

Trampoline accidents sent 1 million children to emergency rooms each year. Nearly 289,000 of those visits are for broken bones. A new study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics reviewed accidents from 2002 to 2011 and found these injuries lead to more than $1 billion in emergency room visits.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long warned against the home use of backyard trampolines, but families still purchase them. Dr. Barry Gilmore, medical director of Le Bonheur’s Emergency Services, says trampolines are a lot like four wheelers in his book. “They look like fun, but can be inherently dangerous without close supervision and safety precautions,” he said.

Gilmore says the Le Bonheur Emergency Department team primarily sees complex elbow and forearm fractures followed by head injuries and dislocations in children injured on a trampolines.

While he doesn’t recommend trampolines for home or playground use, Gilmore says there are a few safeguards you can put in place to limit injuries.

  • Make sure there is supervision/spotters
  • Trampoline should have padding and safety netting
  • Allow one child to use the trampoline at a time

“It's not a matter of if you will fall, but more when and if it will be done with a minimum of risk,” he said. “We would suggest staying with professionally maintained and supervised activities. There are number of other activities that are fun and less risky than trampoline play.”