June 24, 2018
Kids jumping on garden trampoline

Backyard Trampoline Dangers

by Amanda Z. Naprawa  

As the weather warms up, many children are heading into the backyard to play on home trampolines. While this sounds like a lot of fun, the trampoline is not a favorite toy of most pediatricians. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly cautions against home trampolines, for good reason: They are responsible for thousands of injuries per year, with children under age 6 being at greatest risk. In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, researchers determined that trampolines were responsible for over one million emergency room visits between 2002 and 2011. Children under age 10 accounted for over 90 percent of those visits.

Injuries from trampoline use are varied and range from head and neck injuries to broken bones. They can occur on the trampoline mat itself, from a fall off the trampoline, or from a collision with the frame or springs. About three-quarters of trampoline injuries occur when multiple people are using the trampoline at the same time. Smaller children are at a significantly increased risk of being injured by heavier users, who create greater recoil and upward impaction forces on the mat (which can catapult small bodies high into the air).

Trampoline safety tips

If you are determined to buy a backyard trampoline, or you already own one, here are some recommendations for making your trampoline safer:

  • Restrict trampoline use to a single jumper at a time
  • Make sure an adult is supervising at all times
  • No flips or somersaults on the trampoline (one wrong landing can lead to severe head and neck injuries)
  • Use a net enclosure and have adequate padding over the trampoline’s frame
  • Check the trampoline, padding, and safety net regularly for signs of damage; replace or repair damaged parts

You should also consult with your insurance company about whether your homeowner’s policy covers trampoline injuries. Some policies specifically exclude trampolines. In other cases your insurance rates may increase if you own a trampoline.

Bottom line: Avoid backyard trampolines when possible. If you do use them, observe the safety tips above. Keep in mind that there are many other fun outdoor activities your children can enjoy that come with a lot less risk.

Also see Avoid These Freaky Accidents.