Trampoline Safety- How Dangerous Are They?

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There is no doubt about it, jumping on a trampoline high into the air is just plain fun.  Trampolines have exploded in popularity from a small backyard eight-foot size, to a larger 16-foot model for teens to practice their gymnastics moves.

The springy bounce from a quality trampoline with a heavy, sturdy base encourages all jumpers, including adults, to propel with confidence into the air with gravity-defying moves.

Larger rectangular trampolines even provide enough room for more than one jumper at a time, provided they stay on their side. 

Now there are even trampoline parks that offer jumpers a wide variety of surfaces to jump from one bouncer, to a wall, to a foam pit.

This industry has grown by leaps and bounds. For example, in 2011, there were about 40 trampoline parks.  Now there are more than 800 reported across the nation, according to the industry.

These are largely self-regulated with voluntary safety standards, and therein lies the problem.

Trampoline Injuries are Serious

The industry encourages consumers to think that a net safety enclosure and padding on the exterior rails can prevent injuries.

But whether in a backyard or a trampoline park, thousands of injuries are reported every year. They can happen even when there is parental supervision or at a trampoline park that is monitored.  

Padding and a net enclosure are no guarantees against children propelling into each other at a high rate of speed.  And when there are metal frames or a concrete floor, a person’s head is simply no match.

And as jumping encourages flips and somersaults, these moves can result in the most serious injuries to the spine and head.

According to a 2014 published report in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, trampoline injuries:

  • Most often occur in children under the age of 16, mostly male 68%
  • Result in broken bones in the upper extremities 60% of the time
  • Broken bones in the lower extremities occur 36% of the time
  • Injuries to the skull (concussion) occur 3% of the time
  • Broken bones in the back, cervical, and lumbar occur 25% of the time

In 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported there were almost 286,000 trampoline-related injuries, and that included more than 104,000 ER visits.

Children ages five to 14 represent the bulk of the injuries, and three-quarters were injuries that resulted when more than one child was using the trampoline at the same time.

Safety and Trampolines

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages parents from buying a home trampoline including mini trampolines and large outdoor trampolines.

To reduce the number and severity of trampoline-related injuries, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends:

  • Provide Parental supervision at all times
  • Do not allow more than one jumper at a time
  • Place the trampoline on a flat surface at ground level and away from trees or structures
  • Make sure the protective padding and netting are in good shape
  • Do not allow any jumpers under the age of six
  • Do not allow somersaults and flips
  • Make sure any foam pit foam is at or above the level of the trampoline

Legal Issues at Trampoline Parks

Since 2012, there have been six trampoline-related deaths, according to federal reports.

At least one lawsuit included an $11.5 million award to an injured Texas teen who suffered a traumatic brain injury at a Washington State trampoline park, after she fell onto a concrete floor.

The industry has found ways to protect itself by having jumpers and their families sign waivers that include a forced arbitration clause. In case of injury, that would preclude any lawsuit from being filed.

A waiver of liability may not hold, however, if there is evidence that there was a conscious disregard for safety that led to the injury.

Considering that most trampoline injuries occur at someone’s home, if it is yours, understand that your homeowner’s insurance may not cover such an incident.  Most insurance policies will attach an exclusion onto your policy for a trampoline and subsequent injuries.  That means you will not be covered by insurance if someone is injured at your home.

These are personal injuries that are preventable in most circumstances and may be permanent.

Contact Mr. Chip Nix if you feel a trampoline-related injury resulted from some form of negligence. The consultation is complimentary at our Montgomery office. You can get a hold of our office by calling 334-203-6669.

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