Trampolines are used in a variety of supervised and unsupervised settings, such as schools, gymnastics clubs and training programs, and private residences (including homes, cottages and temporary summer homes). Your clients may think of trampolines as a means of getting their kids outdoors and exercising; however, backyard trampolines 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.
- Trampoline-related injury Emergency Department visits (0-14 yrs. of age) increased by 31% between 2013 to 2015
- In 2015, 1,919 Alberta children aged 0-14 years sustained trampoline-related injuries severe enough to require care in the Emergency Department:
- 20% of these children had dislocated ankles or feet
- 18% had leg fractures
- 21% had fractures to their shoulders, elbow or arms
- 140 of these children had head injuries
- Children five to nine years of age had the highest trampoline injury rate in both 2014 and 2015 compared to other age groups.
- In 2015, there were 98 children aged 0-14 in Alberta that were injured badly enough to require hospital admission for injuries sustained from trampoline play. That's a lot of ouch for the bounce.
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. This means that injuries are occurring on the trampoline. In other words, the risk is in using the trampoline.
Alberta Health Services fully supports the Canadian Paediatric Society’s position (reaffirmed in 2013) on backyard trampoline use. The use of trampolines is a high-risk activity with the potential for serious injury. The rapid increase in injuries related to the recreational use of trampolines by children is evidence that current preventive strategies are ineffective to prevent the majority of injuries.
Therefore, AHS recommends that:
- Trampolines should not be used for recreational purposes at home (including cottages and temporary summer residences) by children or adolescents. Clients can visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca to learn more about backyard safety for children.
- Parents should be advised to avoid the purchase of trampolines for the home because enclosures and adequate supervision are no guarantee against injury.
- Trampolines should not be regarded as play equipment and should not be part of home play areas.
- 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. Clients can visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca to learn more about home and playground trampoline and bouncer safety.
- Healthcare professionals support regulations requiring trampoline product labelling to advise consumers of dangers.