A recent injury suffered by a 3-year-old Florida boy while jumping at a trampoline park has sparked national attention on social media and raised questions about the safety of a common, seemingly harmless children’s activity.
On Tuesday, Kaitlin Hill shared in a Facebook post that her son broke his femur while bouncing on a trampoline at an indoor park in Tampa. “Every day is a struggle for his sweet 3 year old self as he adjusts to life in a hip spica cast for the next 6 weeks,” she wrote.
In her post, which has been shared more than 260,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon, she said there are parks that promote the use of trampolines for toddlers, despite recommendations by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons not to allow children under the age of 6 to use them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics goes even further, advising against trampoline use for all children, saying that enclosures and padding may not prevent all injuries and can provide a false sense of security. However, if parents do allow children to use them, the group recommends constant adult supervision, avoiding somersaults and flips and restricting use to a single jumper at a time.
Young children are especially susceptible to trampoline injuries, according to Armin Tehrany, an orthopedic surgeon and founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care.
“Their bones are still growing,” he said. Tehrany cautions parents that a soft surface doesn’t ensure safety because the mechanism of jumping on a trampoline — jumping to progressively higher heights and landing — puts a lot of stress on developing bones.
“The pressure they put themselves under puts them at high risk for fracture and other injuries,” he said.
As trampoline parks grow in popularity, so do trampoline park-related injuries: Emergency room visits for trampoline park-related injuries shot up from 581 in 2010 to 6,932 in 2014, according to a Pediatrics study released last year. That’s more than a ten-fold increase.
Tehrany said he would like to see trampoline parks put up medical recommendations and safety guidelines so parents can make more informed decisions.
“It seems to the parents that it is perfectly safe, but it’s not,” he said.
Sarah Toy, USA TODAY