Risks involved with trampolines.
Trampolines are safe for recreational use if proper adult supervision is present, and adherence to strict safety rules is maintained – this is the opinion of most trampoline manufacturers and supporters. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) doesn`t thinks so…
According to them, trampolines, if not maintained properly, can provide big safety risk for anyone using it, especially children while playing some trampoline games on backyard trampoline.
NOTE: Just take a look at trampoline safety instructions or manual which should also include advice for proper care and maintenance of the equipment .
Rapid increase in trampoline sales during 1990`s, which is considered a decade when trampolines started to gain popularity, all without detailed safety standards to comply to, has lead to epidemic of trampoline related injuries, with total of eleven deaths. All that lead to fact that several organizations, among them American Organization of Pediatrics, were struggling to completely ban sale of home trampolines.
However, this call to action didn`t result in banning trampolines but did resolve in improvement of safety standards for trampolines, and in 2003. new safety standards for trampoline enclosures.
Studies about trampoline related injuries
Evidence from all of those combined reports suggests that following factors can be identified as main cause of injury:
- More than one person on a trampoline – this is the most important factor which can be associated with injury on trampoline and main reason of trampoline accidents. So why is that? Well, calculations show that lightest person on trampoline is five times more likely to be injured. There can be multiple reasons for this – from direct collision with other jumper (10% of accidents), heavier jumper falling onto lighter jumper (broken legs, hands etc), and of course “kipping” effect. Kipping i a phenomenon where you get enhanced uplift as a result from mattress being compresses slightly before other jumper lands on the same surface, causing the mattress ans springs to be moving upwards (recoiling) in the moment when other jumper lands. It causes much greater force and momentum that jumper expected and resulting in unintended rotation or even backward somersault, which can result in serious injuries.Different studies shown different numbers so here they are – Ninewells Hospital Study (47% of injuries because of multiple users), Wotton and Harris (82% of injuries), RoSPA (75% of injuries).
- No supervision whatsoever - supervision is crucial in preventing injuries. Role of supervisor is to ensure that all safety guidelines are followed.
- Trampoline not assembled properly or on inappropriate location – loose joints, problems with padding and trampoline located near other objects can lead to serious injuries. Always follow assembly manual when setting up a trampoline and always leave at least 5 feet from other objects.
- No safety enclosure – One former research (made from 1979 – 1988) has shown that 80% of trampoline injuries occured because people fell of the trampoline. In newer studies this number is much lower, where only 22%-28% is same reason for today accidents. Still, very large number of accidents which could be avoided.
- Age of jumper – child below sex years of age. Younger children will less likely have sufficient coordination skills, skills which are crucial while jumping on trampoline, from stabilizing in mid air to control landings. Younger children have 50% more chance to get a fracture which requires surgery, when compared to general population.
- Hitting pad and springs – Study conducted in USA between 2002 – 2007 showed that alsmost 19% of accidents were caused by hitting springs or frame.
Study published in The Journal of Pediatrics:
- Younger children tended to have injuries to their arms and the majority of these were fractures or dislocations.
- Younger children also had a higher rate of facial injuries, most often lacerations.
- Older children most often injured their legs and these injuries tended to be bruises, sprains, strains and contusions.
- About 3 percent of the injuries were serious enough for the children to be admitted to the hospital.
- Head and neck injuries accounted for 12 percent of the injuries in younger children. In older children, the figure was 7 percent
Study by US Consumer Product Safety Commission:
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission states that 95,000 hospital emergency room-treated injuries in 1998 were associated with trampolines. 75 were kids under the age of 15. Then in 2002, the CPSC again estimated that 60,000 trampoline-related emergency room-treated injuries were kids between the ages of 5 and 14. Since 1990, the CPSC has received six reported deaths involving the seemingly harmless trampoline. In data from 2009. there were nearly 98,000 U.S. trampoline injuries, 0.05% of which, or about 50, caused paralysis or other permanent neurological damage, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.
According to the CPSC, most of the trampoline associated injuries were sustained at private homes. The injuries and deaths were caused by:
- Colliding with another person while jumping on the trampoline.
- Landing improperly while jumping or doing stunts on the trampoline.
- Falling or jumping off the trampoline.
- Falling on the trampoline springs or frame.
Trampoline Safety Concerns & Precaution Checklist:
If you make some precautions most of this accidents can be prevented. So inspect your trampoline regularly and have a safe fun! We’ve divided it into two groups, before using a trampoline and while you’re jumping your fun out!
- read trampoline user manual – stick to safety guidelines.
- make sure hooks, springs and trampoline’s frame are properly padded
- always use a net enclosure, especially with small children, and make sure there are no holes.
- remove all objects from your pockets and the jumping area
- make sure the jumping area is dry and without tears & cuts.
- trampolines should be away from structures, trees and other play areas.
- trampolines should not be used without shock-absorbing pads that completely cover the springs, hooks, and frames.
While using a trampoline:
- always try to land in the center of the trampoline
- don`t talk and jump! you could bite on something you don’t want to bite. yelling YAAAY should be OK!
- don’t attempt to do back flips or somersaults
- never jump off a trampoline, always climb off – leave the first to the pros.
Safety guidelines issued by the AAP organization regarding trampoline safety:
- Steel frame and springs should be covered with a safety pad.
- Impact-absorbing safety surface material for impact areas
- Maintenance and repair for tears, rust, and detachments.
- Safety harnesses and spotting belts
- Setting the trampoline in a pit so the mat is at ground level should be considered – check our “Installing Inground trampoline” article.
- Ladders may provide unintended access to the trampoline by small children and should not be used.
- Only one person should use the trampoline at a time.
- In supervised settings, the user of the trampoline should be at the center of the mat. The user of the trampoline should not attempt maneuvers beyond capability or training, thereby putting them at risk for injury.
- Personnel trained in trampoline safety and competent spotters should be present whenever the trampoline is in use.
- Even in supervised training programs, the use of trampolines for children younger than 6 years of age should be prohibited.
- The trampoline must be secured and not accessible when not in use.
Parts of trampoline you should care most to avoid any problems with equipment! Honestly, Everything is Important!
Trampoline springs is part of trampoline which gets hit all the time. With rust or broken hooks it can be real time bomb. If any of trampoline spring is broken, weight it needed to support will be transferred on surrounding springs increasing the danger of their breakage. If you find springs like that please do not continue to use it until you replace problematic part.
Trampoline mats are another thing to be careful about. Not only you are jumping on it all the time, rain and UV rays can do pretty much damage to it. If you`ll see a part which is torn or wear do not jump on it until trampoline mat is replaced.
Trampoline Enclosure – preventing #1 injury on trampoline – falling outside! Always check if there are no cuts on enclosure!
Taking routine inspections can save you day. Those are the accidents that can be prevented but do happen only because of human mistake. In this case this is mostly laziness to do 30 second work.