Getting kids to play outside in a world filled with digital games galore can be challenging, and a novelty like an outdoor trampoline can seem like a good option. But how dangerous are they?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends never using trampolines in a home or even routine physical education environment due to the huge number of injuries and the severity of those injuries.
According to their policy statement, an estimated 83,400 trampoline-related injuries occurred in 1996 in the United States. This represents an annual rate 140% higher than was reported in 1990. Most injuries were sustained on home trampolines. In addition, 30% of trampoline-related injuries treated in an emergency department were fractures often resulting in hospitalization and surgery.
So, as much as kids love trampolines, they are clearly unsafe.
What about bounce houses, those brightly colored inflatable playgrounds that accompany fair and festival grounds as temperatures cool down?
I cannot find any stance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on bounce houses. In theory they are safer because kids can't fall off and there are no metal/spring parts, but they do still provide an opportunity to twist ankles or break a leg. The biggest problem is when multiple kids are in them and run into each other or fall on top of one another. Used in un-crowded situations, however, they are safer than trampolines but still not accident-proof.
Craig H. Collison, MD, is a pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group. He treats patients from the Physician Group's Boalsburg and Bellefonte locations. Read more about pediatric care at www.mountnittany.org/pediatrics.