Trampolines, when used for recreational activity, present a serious risk of injury for children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). A new study published in the AAP’s journal, Pediatrics, warns of head and spinal injuries that may result from trampoline use, particularly when multiple people use a trampoline at once. Recent injuries and resulting lawsuits demonstrate the dangers trampolines can pose.
In an article published in the online edition of Pediatrics on September 24, 2012, the AAP’s Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness renewed its calls for discouragement of trampoline use in the home. The AAP identified 3,041 reported injuries for 2009, with an estimated 97,908 total injuries and 3,164 hospitalizations or fatalities. Cervical spine injuries often result from falls from trampolines, collisions with other users, or attempts to perform flips and somersaults. Safety measures added by manufacturers, such as nets surrounding the perimeter of trampolines, have not shown any significant mitigation of the risk of injury, according to the AAP.
The trampoline in its modern form began with a patented design by competitive gymnast George Nissen in 1945, according to the AAP’s report. Nissen did not intend his trampoline for recreational use, but rather to train gymnasts and acrobats. His design later found use as a training tool for military aviators. Recreational use of trampolines, particularly trampolines available for home use, came once they became affordable for mass production. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) notes a positive correlation between the number of trampoline-related injuries and the availability of trampolines for recreational home use.