Trampoline Injuries on the Up-Bounce

May 15, 2005

Annual injuries from backyard trampolines have nearly doubled in the past decade, according to findings of a study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and its pediatric unit, Hasbro Children's Hospital. The study reviewed trampoline injuries to children from a sample of emergency departments across the United States.

Annual injuries from backyard trampolines have nearly doubled in the past decade, according to findings of a study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and its pediatric unit, Hasbro Children's Hospital. The study reviewed trampoline injuries to children from a sample of emergency departments across the United States.

The researchers reported that, on average, nearly 75,000 children were seen in emergency departments for trampoline injuries each year in 2001 and 2002. That tally represents a marked bounce upward from what was observed during the early- and mid-1990s, when a similar study showed an average of just over half that number of injuries annually. Most injuries detected in the current study-91%-occurred on home trampolines.

"Trampolines, particularly trampolines at home, are an increasingly major source of injury to children," said James G. Linakis, MD, PhD, pediatric emergency medicine physician at Hasbro Children's Hospital and an associate professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at Brown Medical School, at a talk here today. "It's still a significant problem and the problem is growing compared to what we saw in the early '90's."

Dr. Linakis and his colleagues from Hasbro Children's Hospital and the Rhode Island Hospital Injury Prevention Center reviewed a sample of US hospitals from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System for 2001 and 2002. They compared data from that source to what had been found in an earlier study that examined trampoline injuries between 1990 and 1995. At the time of the earlier study, there were, on average, 41,600 ED visits for trampoline injuries each year.

What might be done to reverse the trend that these researchers found? For one, pediatricians can communicate a clear message of prevention to parents.

"Parents have so far not gotten the message that trampolines should not be used in the home environment. They should be used in very structured, well-monitored environments, with proper supervision," Dr. Linakis said. "Frankly, that supervision probably doesn't and can't happen at home." (Platform Session 5534)