Trampolines have been used to catapult people into the air for sport and recreation for nearly a century. It isn’t news to parents that playing on trampolines can be dangerous, but a recent recommendation on age limits might raise a few eyebrows.
This week, Kait Ellen, a mom with two kids, learned an important lesson about trampoline safety after her toddler was rushed to the hospital.
She shared her story on Facebook:
Our lives have been turned upside down since Colton’s accident and every day is a struggle for his sweet 3 year old self as he adjusts to life in a hip spica cast for the next 6 weeks.
Ellen had taken her 3-year-old son, Colton, to “Toddler Time” at the local trampoline park. When she was jumping in the square next to him, she saw the young boy fall.
At the hospital, Ellen learned that Colton had broken his femur, which the mom noted was the “strongest bone in his body.” Her doctor also told her that children under the age of 6 should never use a trampoline, as their bones cannot withstand the pressure from prolonged jumping.
Ellen wrote that she was not aware of the age recommendation or the harm the trampoline could cause to a young child’s bones:
We had no idea and were shocked to find this out from our pediatric orthopedic surgeon during Colton’s hospital stay.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Randall Loder explained in an interview with PopSugar last year that children’s bones are growing, thus are easier to break and more difficult to heal:
“Pediatric bone can fail relatively easily — if the forces are just right, it can snap. Some of the fractures can really be quite problematic. People think that a fracture in a child is a simple thing just to put a cast on, but that’s not necessarily true. I don’t think the public really understands the magnitude of the severity of some of these injuries that can happen.”
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, trampolines are not safe for users of any age, but kids under the age of 6 are at the greatest risk.Ralph Bean/Flickr CC
Over the past six years, Reuters reports, trampolining has become an increasingly popular pastime for kids, as hundreds of new trampoline parks have opened across the U.S.
As the number of parks continues to rise, pediatricians are also noticing a sharp rise in the number of jumping-related injuries.
A new report by AAP estimates that 6,932 injuries occurred at trampoline parks in 2014, compared to only 581 in 2010. Most of the reported injuries were from children between the ages of 6 and 17. An additional 92,000 emergency room visits were caused by injuries from home trampolines.
AAP cautions that parents shouldn’t bring their young children to trampoline parks or purchase trampolines for their homes. However, if there is a trampoline at home, the organization recommends taking the following precautions:
- Always have an adult supervisor near the trampoline
- Only allow one jumper at a time
- Do not allow somersaults
- Encourage protective padding and clothing
- Continuously check and repair the trampoline
At the time of this writing, Colton had six more weeks to heal in his hip cast. Dearly reached out to Ellen’s lawyer for a comment, but she had not responded by the time of publication.