Don’t let children on trampolines

To jump or not? Trampolines are popular fixtures in backyards, and trampoline parks are trending in cities across the U.S. But pediatric orthopedic surgeons warn against them.

“We see an increasing number of injuries from kids jumping on trampolines,” said Star Nixon, M.D., Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville. “Most people think that the injuries are caused by kids falling off and that a net will protect them, but that’s not true.”

In fact, a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness found that the majority of injuries occur on the trampoline and when two more jumpers are using it at the same time. Fractures and dislocations happened 48 percent of the time for children age 5 and younger.

In 2016, nearly 170 children in our area required care at Norton Children’s after injuries on trampolines.

“These include broken arms, wrists, elbows and legs as well as knee and joint injuries,” Dr. Nixon said. “When multiple jumpers are on the trampoline, the danger increases; because when one jumps up, it leaves extra tension on the surface of the trampoline. For the other person coming down onto that surface, it can be like landing onto concrete.”

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At a higher risk

A recent news story brought the dangers of trampolines to light. A Tampa, Florida, toddler suffered a femur fracture at a trampoline park and is now in a body cast.

“When anyone jumps on a trampoline, it can put extra stress on the bones,” Dr. Nixon said. “The bones and ligaments also are more at risk because there is often a twisting motion that can cause an injury. For younger children whose bones are still developing, there is a higher risk.”

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that children under age 6 do not use trampolines, and the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against children using trampolines at all.

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