Are trampolines risky for kids? Local experts weigh in

CLEVELAND -- Trampolines may be popular among kids, but are they too dangerous?

Parents should know about the dangers and safety guidelines before allowing their kids on trampolines, whether they're at a trampoline park or in the backyard, according to doctors at the Cleveland Clinic.

Doctors would prefer that kids not use them at all.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests they should never be used unless they are being supervised in training for a sport like diving or gymnastics," said Dr. Ryan Goodwin, orthopedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Children's.

In 2012, the AAP issued a stern warning to parents, saying that trampolines are too dangerous for children to use. Citing nearly 100,000 injuries in 2009, the academy noted that the safety nets added to trampolines in recent years don't make much of a difference.

Safety nets do, however, tend to lull parents into a false sense of security.

"Pediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use," said Dr. Michele LaBotz, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics executive council on sports medicine and fitness. "This is not a toy. It's a piece of equipment. We recommend that you not provide it for your family or your neighbors to use. But if you do use one, you need to be aware of the risks."

Dr. Goodwin says he has treated trampoline injuries where bones are broken so badly, that they need emergency surgical repair. In addition to fractures -- concussions, head and neck injuries, sprains and strains are also common. The 2012 AAP report noted that botched somersaults and flips are often the cause of cervical spine injuries with permanent injury.

It also found that most trampoline injuries happen when several kids are jumping at the same time, and young children were found to be at the greatest risk for injury.

Though recreational use of trampolines is not recommended, it's still common. If parents do allow kids to have a trampoline, the AAP recommends adult supervision at all times.


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