Trampoline parks have jumped in popularity in recent years, and so have visits to the emergency room from park-related injuries, a new study in Pediatrics found.
Trips to the emergency room due to injuries at trampoline parks shot up from just under 600 in 2010 to almost 7,000 in 2014, the latest year of the study. The number of trampoline parks in the United States also increased during this time, from around 40 in 2011 to 280 in 2014.
Sprains and dislocations are the most common injuries for trampoline park-goers. Some of the most serious injuries included skull and open leg fractures and spinal cord trauma, according to study author and pediatrician Kathryn Kasmire of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. She said the injuries in some cases led to paralysis and surgery.
Kasmire said 1 in 11 children or young adults who went to the emergency room for park injuries was admitted to the hospital.
The study also found that the majority of trampoline-related accidents occur at home — rather than at a park — and these accidents did not increase significantly from 2010 to 2014, nor did overall trampoline injuries.
The International Association of Trampoline Parks said the rise in injuries should be expected because of more parks in recent years.
“We believe that the positives of youth recreational sports far outweigh the negatives, and we are actively engaged in programs aimed at promoting the safety and well-being of jumpers who visit our member parks,” the group said in a statement.
Kasmire admitted that parks have done a good job of ensuring that youngsters do not fall off trampolines, reducing the likelihood of head injuries, because the floors are covered with a bouncy surface. This floor, though, can increase the risk of other injuries if a person lands between two trampolines, she said.
Kasmire noted that the study could not determine the likelihood of being injured at a park, adding, “we already know that any kind of trampoline is a relatively dangerous activity for children.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against trampoline use for all children but says if children do use them, they should not do flips or have more than one jumper at a time on a trampoline. The academy said adult supervision is needed and that trampolines should also have proper padding.