Trampoline Accidents and Personal Injuries
Trampolines. Are they fun? Yes. Are they a novelty? Yes. Are they safe ? In my opinion, no. There are many reasons why I would recommend keeping your children off recreational trampolines. Typically most trampoline accidents and injuries occur when there is more than one user. Often times there is more than one jumper and the lighter jumper is much more likely to be injured. In fact according to the Canadian Pediatric Society stated that 3/4 of injuries that occur on a trampoline happen when there are multiple jumpers. The severity of injuries increases by 14 % if there is one jumper much heavier than the other. In fact, in children younger than 5 years old, the rate of bone fractures and dislocations is close to 48%.
Common trampoline injuries
The most common trampoline injuries are broken bones, fractured bones, dislocated shoulders, sprains and in more severe cases, head injuries, spinal injuries and neurological damage. A US study completed back in 2000 found that 1 out of every 200 trampoline accidents lead to some sort of neurological damage. I suspect with the cost of recreational trampolines coming down and more selection in the market the number of sales has gone up, as well as the number of injuries.
Common misconceptions : trampoline accidents
One of the most common beliefs about trampolines is that if there is a net surrounding the trampoline mat, then it is safe. Most trampoline injuries don’t involve someone bouncing outside the trampoline. Most trampoline accidents occur on the trampoline mat itself. Flips and somersaults gone wrong can lead to some of the most sever injuries; such as a head injury or a spinal injury. No net can prevent this type of trampoline accident.
The Canadian Hospital Injury Reporting and Prevention Program reported that in a 5 year study there were a total of 4247 reported trampoline accidents resulting in injuries. Of these 4247 trampoline injuries, 40 % were children under the age of 5 years old. It’s important to note that this is not the total number of trampoline accidents; rather the number of reported trampoline accidents. The Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, also conducted a study in the US and found that in a 10 year period, there were more than 1 million visits to emergency rooms for people who were injured in a trampoline accident. Our very own CHEO – Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario reported approximately 50 trampoline accident visits per year. While 50 visits a year may not seem like much, remember that this is just one hospital in our area.
I know we can’t have our children live in a bubble; however as an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I am strongly urging you consider this information the next time your child asks you to go on a recreational trampoline. If you chose to allow your child, please consider closely supervising the number of people on the trampoline at one time and check to make sure all nets and safety equipment is properly installed. The Canadian Safety Council recommends at the very least setting the following non-negotiable rules: 1) one person at a time on the trampoline 2) no flips or somersaults 3) no jumping on or off the trampoline.
David Hollingsworth is a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa, Ontario and the father of three young children. Child safety is of paramount importance. Please, play safe.