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) do not think so.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 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.
According to the CPSC, most of the trampoline associated injuries were sustained at private homes. The injuries and deaths were caused by:
1. Colliding with another person while jumping on the trampoline.
2. Landing improperly while jumping or doing stunts on the trampoline.
3. Falling or jumping off the trampoline.
4. Falling on the trampoline springs or frame.
The majority of injuries caused by using trampolines include sprains, fractures, scrapes, bruises and cuts, and serious injuries to the head and neck which can cause paralysis and death. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), disastrous cervical spine injuries are rare, but head and neck injuries constitute a considerable number of the more serious injuries requiring hospitalization.
These are the recommendations laid out by the AAP:
1. The trampoline should not be used at home, inside or outside.
2. The trampoline should not be part of routine physical education classes in schools.
3. The trampoline has no place in outdoor playgrounds and should never be regarded as play equipment.
These are the safety guidelines issued by the AAP organization if trampolines are to be used:
1. Steel frame and springs should be covered with a safety pad.
2. Impact-absorbing safety surface material for impact areas.
3. Maintenance and repair for tears, rust, and detachments.
4. Safety harnesses and spotting belts
5. Setting the trampoline in a pit so the mat is at ground level should be considered.
6. Ladders may provide unintended access to the trampoline by small children and should not be used.
7. Only one person should use the trampoline at a time.
8. 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.
9. Personnel trained in trampoline safety and competent spotters should be present whenever the trampoline is in use.
10. Even in supervised training programs, the use of trampolines for children younger than 6 years of age should be prohibited.
11. The trampoline must be secured and not accessible when not in use.
The CPSC also issued additional safety measures while using the trampoline which include:
1. Somersaults should not be attempted because landing on the head or neck can cause paralysis.
2. Trampolines should not be used without shock-absorbing pads that completely cover the springs, hooks, and frames.
3. Trampolines should be laced away from structures, trees, and other play areas.
4. Trampoline enclosures should be considered which can help prevent injuries from falls off trampolines.
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