Backyard trampolines are a combo package of fun and fitness. Children love to jump on them all day long with their friends. Adults can also use trampolines in their daily exercise routine. They help to build the muscles in the lower half of the body in the most entertaining way. They have many other health benefits but they bring some potential risks as well.
According to a report of NBC, more than 100,000 people land to the emergency department every year due to trampoline injuries. Most of them are children under 16. That is why; most of the pediatrics recommends holding back your kids from using trampolines at an early age. This fact puts many serious questions in our minds like ‘What backyard trampoline injuries and hazards are out there to look for?’ or ‘Should we use trampolines all?’ In this article, I will try to answer all of those questions for you. First, let’s check the safety hazards that result in those traumas.
Why Backyard trampoline injuries occur in the first place?
Injuries usually take place when many kids are trying to jump together. When a kid is jumping alone, he can control his posture, his landing, and his bounce very well. But when they jump in packs, the chances of a collision increases dramatically, plus it creates a sense of competition to check who can go the highest and again increase the chances of traumas. No matter how much the trampoline companies claim their product to be safer, it always carries substantial risks along with that enjoyment.
It is a common notion that padding the poles and using strong nets make trampoline injury-proof. But that’s far away from the truth. Jumping mats and safety nets are fragile and need to be replaced regularly but people do not care about that important fact and later suffer from great misfortunes. Those broken and malfunctioning mats cause a lot of collar bones to be fractured every year. Netting prevents your children from serious falls but unfortunately, many children take them as a challenge and try to jump over them which results in more harm than good.
List of Commonly occurring Backyard Trampoline Injuries
Backyard trampolines can cause a ton of different types of wounds and traumas. Most of them will force you to give a visit to your doctor and some of them can even be lethal as well. According to a research journal of PEDIATRIC ORTHOPEDICS, 101 patients landed in the hospital due to trampoline injuries in 2005. Among them 55 were bone fractures, 5 were neck and 5 were brain injuries. Here is a brief list of the injuries that can take place if you are not conscious.
- Arm and leg sprains
- Neck injuries
- Collar bone fractures
- Head injuries
- Spinal injuries
Now let’s briefly check their detail.
Arm and leg sprains
- These are the most common type of injuries.
- Usually result from hitting the poles (arm sprains) or awkward landing (leg sprains) on damaged jumping matt.
- If the springs are not covered with safety matt then fingers get caught in them resulting in cuts and lacerations.
- Kids aged between 5-7 years have fragile long bones that are easily fractured even by a small amount of force. Special attention should be on them if they are jumping on a trampoline.
- These injuries take place when children land on the back of their neck.
- These also lead to spinal cord damage.
- Neck has many vital organs that are prone to damage including windpipe and major vessels.
- These injuries are also seen when multiple children are playing together.
Collar bone fractures:
- Collar bone (Clavicle) fractures are common in children only and rarely seen in adults.
- These are one of the few injuries that occur despite all the safest measurements.
- Clavicle fractures are very grievous ones as they can destabilize the entire shoulder and can restrict its movement for almost 2 months.
- Head injuries are very dangerous as they can cause permanent brain injuries.
- These injuries take place when the head strikes the pole which can cause fracture of the skull.
- Chances of brain damage increase several-fold if the head bounces back after the impact. It can cause damage on the same side as well as the opposite side of the point of the strike.
- According to research done by AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION, Trampoline injuries can cause stroke and brain infarction in children.
- They are as serious as brain injuries but occur more often.
- They are caused by bad landing on jumping matt and falling out of the trampoline.
- Damage to the spine and spinal cord results in paralysis.
- Trampoline spine injuries can cause Hemiplegia (paralysis of lower extremities) and Quadriplegia (paralysis of all 4 limbs) and even death.
How to avoid Backyard trampoline injuries
It is a harsh fact that even after reading through all those important facts, many of us will still be letting their children jump freely on trampolines. We can allow them to enjoy jumping on the trampolines after taking some precautionary measures. After reading a lot of articles and doing some research on my own, I have found that the following safety measures reduce the chances of injuries to a minimum.
1. Lesser the children, lesser the injuries:
It is common sense that crowding the trampoline will increase the chance of injuries especially head and neck injuries. Collision is also a main contributing factor to many injuries. So limiting the number of children will decrease the injuries. Children under the age of 6 should not be allowed to inside the trampoline at any cost.
If you have 2 or 3 children and they want to play together, then at least discourage them from doing any sort of tricks and competition as they can hurt themselves and others during those stunts.
2. Change pads and safety nets regularly
Safety nets save many children from falling off the trampolines. Although they are made of very tough material, they have a very short lifespan. They sustain a lot of damage which results in tears and deterioration. The same is the case with jumping mats and pads that covers the jumping areas and poles. Make sure to check them regularly and replace them as soon as you notice any beaks or detachments.
3. Avoid buying cheap trampolines
When it comes to trampolines, many brands sell cheap products. Sometimes, there features look far better and exciting than those offered by big and expensive brands. But I recommend you to always go for the quality. Those cheap trampolines use low-quality steel to build their frames which enhances the chances of injuries.
Always buy trampolines from authentic brands like SkyWalkers and Airzone. They use high-quality parts and they are much safer than other brands available in the market. Buying a trampoline involves the safety of your entire family so don’t spare some pennies and put a trusted product.
CLICK HERE to read a full article on safe and affordable trampolines.
4. Try to keep an eye on them
It’s human nature to try doing the things he is restricted from. No matter how much you tell your kids, they try to do high jumps and funny tricks. You should always keep an eye on them and try to avoid unsupervised jumping. Also, try to level your trampoline with the ground and away from trees and other hazards.
Trampolines are like a double-edged sword. On one side, they provide entertainment to the children and on the other hand, they also cause fatal injuries. If possible, children should be encouraged to involve in other outdoor activities like playing Frisbee, going on a hike or riding a bike, etc. As I have mentioned earlier, trampoline injuries should be taken seriously especially those involving head and spine. Don’t allow toddlers and children under the age of 6 on trampolines because their bones are weak and are more prone to injuries.
I hope I was able to answer all your queries regarding backyard trampoline injuries. So be smart and stay safe, follow all precautions and then, just enjoy the Bounce.