Health Matters

Perilous Play: How Safe are Trampolines?

Aug. 11, 2015
Trampolines may be popular and fun but, before you jump to conclusions and put one in your backyard, you should know that they send a hundred thousand patients to emergency rooms annually.
Pediatric orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Christopher Cook and the division of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital, provide some tips on the safest way to use a trampoline—if you must
As orthopaedic surgeons, we see many children with injuries that have been sustained while on a trampoline. They’ll land wrong or attempt a stunt and fall, and be left with a sprain, a broken bone, or worse.  
So the rule that many of us in Pediatric Orthopedics enforce with our own children is simple: They are never allowed on a trampoline. This is also what the American Academy of Pediatrics says in their recommendation: “Don’t buy a trampoline for your home! Trampolines may be popular and a fun way to get exercise, but there are safer ways to encourage your children to be physically active.”
However, if you do choose to have a home trampoline, follow these guidelines to ensure your children are as safe as possible:
  • An adult should be supervising trampoline play at all times. 
  • Only one child should jump on the trampoline at a time. Many injuries occur when more than one child is jumping at the same time.
  • No somersaults, flips, or dangerous tricks.
  • Place protective padding on any exposed equipment, and check the equipment often to make sure it’s in good working order. Repair or replace any damaged equipment immediately.
  • Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security just because you have a net or other safety device installed. A recent study shows that these devices don’t add much of anything in the way of injury prevention. 
Christopher Cook, MD
Christopher Cook, M.D., is a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital. He specializes in complex hip conditions and hip dysplasia in children and young adults.