Trampolines are more dangerous than you think — Read the warnings, advice from experts

Last month, 3-year-old Colton Hill was injured at an indoor trampoline park in Florida and put in a cast from his waist down.

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Colton’s mother, Kaitlin Hill, shared his story on Facebook Tuesday, warning parents of the potential dangers of trampolines in a post that has since taken social media by storm.

Ellen cited recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in her post, both of which advise against the use of trampolines for children under the age of six due to the fragility of their bones.

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“We had no idea and were shocked to find this out from our pediatric orthopedic surgeon during Colton's hospital stay,” Hill wrote.

But the AAP doesn’t just warn against young children on trampolines. It has strongly discouraged against home use of trampolines altogether.

In a 2012 report published in the journal “Pediatrics,” the academy wrote that approximately three-quarters of trampoline injuries occurred when multiple people were using the trampoline at the same time.

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In addition, the smallest trampoline users were up to 14 times as likely to sustain injuries compared to their heavier counterparts.

The report also includes patterns of injury with trampolines, including accidents involving the head and neck, “often the most frightening and alarming” injuries.

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According to researchers, head and neck injuries account for 10 to 15 percent of all trampoline-related injuries and could potentially lead to permanent neurological damage or catastrophic cervical spine injuries.

The academy reiterates that recreational trampoline use is not recommended at all, but for those persistent on using home trampolines, here are some official AAP guidelines:

  • Verify that your insurance policies cover trampoline-related claims. 
  • Trampoline use should be restricted to a single jumper on the mat at any given time.
  • Trampolines should have adequate protective padding that is in good condition and appropriately placed.
  • Trampolines should be set at ground level whenever possible or on a level surface and in an area cleared of any surrounding hazards.
  • Frequent inspection and appropriate replacement of protective padding, net enclosure, and any other damaged parts should occur.
  • Trampolines should be discarded if replacement parts are unavailable and the product is worn or damaged.
  • Somersaults and flips are among the most common causes of permanent and devastating cervical spine injuries and should not be performed in the recreational setting.
  • Active supervision by adults familiar with the above recommendations should occur at all times. Supervising adults should be willing and able to enforce these guidelines. Mere presence of an adult is not sufficient.
  • Confirm that these guidelines are in place anytime your child is likely to use a trampoline.

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And when it comes to visiting trampoline parks (like the Florida park 3-year-old Colton attended), the AAP warns that there isn’t enough data regarding safety in such settings.

According to national emergency room reports published last year in the journal “Pediatrics,” visits for trampoline park-related injuries jumped from 580 in 2010 to 7,000 in 2014.

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“We found that about 1 out of every 11 kids that ended up in the ER for their trampoline park injuries ended up being admitted,” lead author and emergency physician Kathryn Kasmire told CBS News.

Of course, the authors noted the number of trampoline parks in the country had also risen rapidly over the years. And safety guidelines vary from park to park.

In any case, the AAP advises parents to use the same cautions outlined for home use for any recreational setting, including trampoline parks.

Read more about trampoline dangers and advice from the AAP.

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