Trampolines, as we know them, have existed since the mid-1930’s and commercial outdoor trampoline parks, or “jump centers” were popularized in the late 1950’s early 1960’s. They quickly fell out of favor due to high injury rates which influenced high insurance rates. Home trampoline use has been perpetuated through the decades with “improved safety”. This has included padding over the springs, a net around the trampoline to prevent someone falling off, and sinking the trampoline in to the ground so it is at ground level. These things were seen as “safety measures” but did not prevent fractures, sprains, lacerations and head injuries.
Over the past decade, there has been an explosion nationally of commercial, indoor jump gyms. These are lucrative businesses, which are relatively easy to “get up and running”. Typically, they are warehouses of interconnected competition grade trampolines allowing for high intensity jumping and tumbling. These are NOT BOUNCE HOUSES FOR TODDLERS. Trampoline gyms are a new and entirely an unregulated industry.
As a result of the rapid growth in trampoline parks, there is neither formal safety regulation nor tracking of safety data. Bungee jumping, skiing, and rock climbing are all highly regulated industries than trampoline parks. According to a position statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), trampolines in general are not safe and they have advised that you, “don't buy a trampoline for your home.” The AAP also recommends that, "mini and full-sized trampolines never be used at home, in routine gym classes, or on playgrounds.” Visit AAP.org or HealthyChildren.org for more information.
A significant trend in the number of people injured while at jump gyms have been identified in the Provo, Utah area. Between June 2009 and November 2012, 57 people were identified as being injured while at jump gyms. 52 of the 57 injuries have occurred in the last 18 months which demonstrates a startling increase in the rate of injuries.
The average age of those injured is 19 years old. The most common injuries are: fractures of the lower leg, fractures of the neck, backs and arms. Varying forms of paralysis has occurred in extreme cases.
8 Things YOU CAN DO:
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has published regulations for home trampolines that can be used at trampoline parks, which include:
1. One person at a time on the trampoline.
2. No somersaults or flips.
3. Full safety pad coverage.
4. Place trampoline away from other structures.
5. Children younger than 6 years of age should not be allowed on trampolines.
6. Adult supervision.
7. Enclosed trampolines may help to prevent falls.
8. Educate facilities and the public about actual risks of participation.
Jean Lundquist, RN, BSN Trauma Program Manager