In the last month or so, a few articles have come out discussing warnings against trampolines and bounce houses.
I personally am a fan of both items as they have really helped me get some of my patients jumping, which is an important milestone around 2 years old.
Here is the kind of trampoline we have at the clinic:
After reading both articles, the main conclusion I saw was that bounce houses and trampolines are unsafe because of lack of adult supervision and that adults don’t know proper obvious safety rules that can help prevent injuries on trampolines and bounce houses. I actually have taken some patients to bounce house warehouses since they provide great environments to practice bouncing, but also walking on uneven/bouncy surfaces, and then also don’t have to worry about them hurting their faces if they fall 🙂
The guidelines they discuss here are the same guidelines I would use for any activity/sport, whether it’s recreational or therapeutic:
- Constant adult supervision!!
- IF more than 1 child is going to use a trampoline/bounce house, make sure there is enough room for them to jump around
- Children should be around the same size and skill level when using a trampoline/bounce house. (this applies to any activity, you wouldn’t put 4 year olds with 10 year olds in a soccer game would you??)
So don’t run away from any jumping activities just yet! Remember the above rules and that jumping is an important milestone that you can’t skip!
Benefits of jumping:
- Improves coordination (it’s quite advanced to move both legs at the same time to complete a jump, and coordination is important for any activity that involves moving, especially walking).
- Increases leg strength (you need a lot of power to be able to push your body into the air fast enough that you move into the air)
- Improves balance (staying standing after landing from a jump challenges one’s balance, better balance means improved safety for toddlers/young kids)
- Improves body awareness (if you’re able to jump in the air and land on your feet, then that means you have a good idea of where your legs are, which is important for any standing activity!)
- It’s also exercise! great energy burner, remember this obesity epidemic we have going on?? If your child isn’t into sports, let’s hope they’re at least into jumping 🙂
Main points drawn from the articles:
Incidence of trampoline injuries:
- In 2009, the last year of available data, trampoline injury rates were 70 injuries per 100,000 children ages 0- to 4-years-old
- 60 injuries per 100,000 5- to 14-year-olds
- total of 98,000 injuries that year
- Kids in the older age group were more likely to use a bicycle or other unsafe equipment on the trampoline. (This is an obvious unsafe activity that should’ve been monitored!)
- 3- 14 percent of the injuries require hospitalization
Incidence of bounce house injuries:
- Smith and colleagues analyzed records from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database that contains information on emergency department visits for children 17 years old or younger
- Between 1990 and 2010, they identified almost 65,000 injuries tied to inflatable bouncers
- annual injury rate doubling between 2008 and 2010
- 31 children treated daily in a U.S. emergency room for an injury caused by a bouncer
- That’s one child every 46 minutes nationally. (I hate stats like this that are meant to just scare parents)
- Falls accounted for 43 percent of injuries (shocker that in an activity that involves jumping, that the majority of injuries happen from falls….)
- More than 27 percents of injuries were fractures
- another 27 percent reported as strains or sprains
- nearly 33 percent occurred to the lower extremities
- nearly 30 percent occurred to the upper extremities
Recommendations from bounce house article that can apply to trampolines too:
- Smith’s study recommends keeping kids under 6 out of the bouncy houses and castles
- Allowing only one child in the bouncer at a time
- Having parental supervision at all times
- If more than one child will be on the bouncer at the same time, make sure they are about the same age and size.