Are trampolines safe?

trampoline injuries faye knight childrens physio


According to my children, "EVERYONE" has a trampoline (except for poor old us!) It does seem that they are prolific these days and I'm seeing a definite increase in the number of trampoline injuries in clinic now that the good weather has arrived; another broken leg this week. I don't want to be all bah humbug about them as I'm the first person to encourage children to be outside exercising and having fun; all play carries some element of risk.

My two children have loved bouncing on trampolines from a young age. Often, might I add under very little supervision and with multiple children (of all sizes) bouncing. So I am totally aware of how difficult it is to instill rules and control to trampolining at home.  However, I do think we should be aware of some common injuries and how we can reduce the chance of them happening.

A study of hospital admissions shows that half of all activity related accidents in the home involving children under 14 are caused by trampolining, a really high figure. Injuries range from bruises, cuts, sprains and strains to fractures and thankfully more rare but serious, head or spinal injuries. All parts of the body can be affected and the type of injury tends to depend upon the age of the child.

According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), injuries still occur even with adult supervision, a net surround and padding. Children under 6 are most at risk of injury and are advised not to bounce on a full size trampoline. 75% of injuries are most likely to occur when there is more than one person on the trampoline especially when the weight of the bouncers are mismatched. I particularly want to make you aware of these unique 'trampoline fractures', as many parents I spoke to hadn't heard of them.

The injury occurs when a second, heavier individual (often an adult) causes the jumping surface to recoil upward as the smaller person is descending. This effect on the smaller person has been compared to falling out of a first floor window! The combined excessive load can produce the characteristic fracture through the upper tibia (shin bone) which is most often seen in children aged 2-6 years. This will result in a definite time in plaster and often some rehab afterwards.

I'm not going to go through all of the guidelines which I'm sure most of you are aware of. You can find them on the RoSpa website.The most simple advise is; adult supervision, avoid somersaults and flips, be especially cautious about children under 6 and only one person bouncing at a time. In particular, no double bouncing with mismatched body weights. As parents we already worry and feel guilty about enough things and I really do know how difficult it is to make children wait for their turn, but a few trampoline rules might prevent a miserable summer ahead...