Summer is an awesome time of the year! Full of family gatherings, vacations and plenty of time outside. Kids will be out of school spending loads of time playing outdoors with their buddies. What one of the most popular and yet incredibly harmful activities kids love to do is jump on a trampoline. They are extremely dangerous if not used correctly. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises that even with nets: “Parents should never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to use home trampolines.” Children 6 and under should never bounce on a trampoline. But let’s face it someone in your neighborhood has a trampoline. Kids are just going to bounce and bounce without a care for their safety. The absolute worst thing children can do and will is jump with multiple friends at once. Double bouncing and playing “popcorn” doubly increases their chances of a severe injury. Even with adult supervision, the “one child bounce at a time” rule isn't necessarily in place. The statistic is that 75% of trampoline injuries occur when several kids are jumping at once. Also, many insurance companies won’t insure homeowners that have a trampoline on the premises and/or may not cover trampoline-related claims. Coverage is highly variable.
You might be asking yourself then, how bad can a trampoline be? They are super fun! It's simple physics really. A trampoline creates a rebounding force into the spine causing your joints to compress. The harder you jump, the more force it creates into the body thus increasing the chance of severe trauma to the body. While kids can maintain some control on the up motion, it’s the down motion that is harder to control. This is where injury usually happens. Lacerations, sprains to ligaments, strains to muscle fibers, broken arms and legs and hyperextended knees are just some of the injuries that can occur. And those are the minor ones! Avulsion fractures can occur where a fragment of bone tears away from the main mass of bone. Yikes! Not to mention the occurrence of concussions and disc herniations to the spinal structure. Furthermore, injuries sustained on a trampoline can be equal to or sometimes worse than an auto accident whiplash!
If you or your child have any soreness after bouncing on a trampoline, you can be sure that there has been damage to your body. It is imperative that you call a N.U.C.C.A. doctor immediately. The sooner, the better! N.U.C.C.A. is ideal for addressing trampoline injuries. The most important thing when injured is to realign the spine and extremities and allow them to heal properly. It takes muscles 4-6 weeks to recover, ligaments 6-8 weeks, and nerves 3-4 months. This can ruin summertime fun! We at Alpha Spine Center have seen 100’s of children over the years with minor to major injuries from bouncing on a trampoline. What is our advice to parents? Say no to trampolines (and bounce houses for that matter)! With the warmer weather upon us, we expect to see these preventable injuries. The statistics over the last couple of decades speak for themselves. Just because there isn’t an outright ban of these dangerous “toys” doesn’t mean they are safe. We urge you, parents, to ask yourselves whether a few minutes of “innocent," joyful bouncing is really worth the risk of a catastrophic injury to your child’s developing brain and bones.