Trampolines are used in a variety of supervised (i.e., gymnastic clubs) and unsupervised settings (i.e., backyards and trampoline parks). Most people may think of trampolines as a means of getting their kids outdoors and exercising; however, unsupervised trampolines activities are not without potentially significant risks. Trampoline-related injuries often include broken bones, head, back and neck trauma, sprains, bruises and cuts. In some cases, injuries are severe enough to cause permanent disability and even death.
Manufacturers have attempted to improve safety through changes in engineering (safety nets and extra padding), however, these engineering changes have not been demonstrated by evidence as being effective in reducing injuries.
Parachute (2022), The Canadian Pediatric Society (2016, reaffirmed 2022) and the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine joint statement (2012) and the American Academy of Pediatrics continue to recommend the elimination of trampolines in home environments.
- Parents should not buy or use trampolines at home (including cottages and summer residences) for children and youth.
- Healthcare professionals, including public health nurses, family physicians and pediatricians, should inform parents of the dangers of trampolines as a recreational toy at routine health care visits when the opportunity arises.
If parents/caregivers continue using trampolines the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests:
- Homeowners should verify that their insurance policies cover trampoline-related claims. Coverage is highly variable, and a rider may need to be obtained.
- Trampoline use should be restricted to a single jumper on the mat at any given time.
- Trampolines should have adequate protective padding that is in good condition and appropriately placed.
- Trampolines should be set at ground level whenever possible or on a level surface and in an area cleared of any surrounding hazards.
- Frequent inspection and appropriate replacement of protective padding, net enclosure, and any other damaged parts should occur.
- Trampolines should be discarded if replacement parts are unavailable, and the product is worn or damaged.
- Somersaults and flips are among the most common causes of permanent and devastating cervical spine injuries and should not be performed in the recreational setting.
- Active supervision by adults familiar with the above recommendations should occur at all times. Supervising adults should be willing and able to enforce these guidelines. Mere presence of an adult is not sufficient.
- Parents should confirm that these guidelines are in place anytime their child is likely to use a trampoline.” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012, reaffirmed 2020).
- Clients can visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca to learn more about home and playground trampoline and bouncer safety.
In 2021, 1,605 Albertans sustained trampoline-related injuries severe enough to require care in the ED/UCC. Of these, 1605 visits:
- 40% (642) had fractures.
- 24% (390) had dislocations.
- 12.6% (202) were superficial.
- 5.8% (94) had open wounds.
- .06% (1) was crushed.
- 17.1% (276) unknown type of injury.
- 373 knee and lower leg injuries.
- 191 head injuries.
- 149 shoulder and upper arm injuries.
- Remaining identified trampoline injuries do not include specific body parts.
- In 2021 60% (967) children, between the ages of one and nine, were seen at ED/UCC for trampoline injuries.
Items like safety nets, most often sold with trampolines to prevent people from falling off, will not reduce the risk of injury. Injuries as a result of a child falling off a trampoline are less than 30 per cent.