Nets, pads don’t make trampolines significantly safer

I was thinking about getting a trampoline for the kids, and I thought that the nets placed around the sides had made them relatively safe. But then I ran across a surprising statistic in a magazine (that I later found online as well):

Seventy-five percent of injuries on trampolines occur from multiple people jumping at the same time.  The American Academy of Pediatrics contends that nets and pads do not significantly reduce the risk of injury.

From Parenting.com:

“In light of approximately 98,000 trampoline-related injuries in the U.S. each year, the American Academy of Pediatrics is advising against playing on home trampolines. Although injuries have been on a downward trend for the last few years, trampolines still led to about 31,000 hospitalizations in 2009–and injuries tend to happen most frequently in kids under 5.”

“Think you’ve safety-proofed your trampoline with nets and pads? Think again. “Families need to know that many injuries occur on the mat itself, and current data do not appear to demonstrate that netting or padding significantly decrease the risk of injury,” said Michele LaBotz, MD, FAAP, co-author of the updated policy statement. In fact, 75 percent of injuries occur on the mat, when multiple people are jumping. The most common injuries are sprains, strains and scrapes, but devastating spinal injuries can also be caused by failed flips. Falls off the trampoline account for 27 to 39 percent of the injuries, and can still happen with an adult supervising.”

So despite the nets, the Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents do not own or let their kids use trampolines.

So what do you think? Are trampolines safer than when we were little? Do you own a trampoline? Does it have the net and pads? Do you think they help with safety? Have your kids had injuries on your trampolines? Has it been from smashing into other jumpers? Do you only let them jump one at a time?

51 comments Add your comment

El Kabong

June 5th, 2013
1:53 am

The insurance industry considers the only adequate control for the hazard of a trampoline is removal.

malleesmom

June 5th, 2013
3:56 am

we’ve never owned one. not worth the homeowner’s liability issues. jmo.

vallee

June 5th, 2013
4:26 am

One doctor referred to a trampoline as the “perfect quadraplegic instrument”.

motherjanegoose

June 5th, 2013
6:43 am

Never had one. Never wanted one. My kids did.

Later our neighbors got one. At one time, there were a half dozen kids jumping in it while they had a 12 year old baby sitter in charge. I heard the commotion and looked out. My daughter recognized the sitter. I shuddered and forced myself away from the window. Nothing happened but it made me very nervous. Same neighbors with the daughter who was riding a little tykes bike down the street and heading towards the trash truck ( who was backing down the street and could not see her). Another neighbor and I happened to see her, screamed at her and ran down to get her. She was perhaps four. The Mom was inside. Scary stuff!

irisheyes

June 5th, 2013
7:05 am

Both my mom and my MIL wanted to get one for my kids, and I said no both times. If we had a fenced in yard where I wouldn’t have to worry about the neighborhood kids coming in uninvited, I might think about it, but I didn’t need the liability headaches.

FCM

June 5th, 2013
7:11 am

No trampolines, no pool. Rather sad by the latter but as other poster’s said not worth the insurance increase. Also not worth the risks of uninvited folks in my yard (especially if I am not home). Attractive nusiance…it is not just the attractive neighbor up the street!

justmy2cents

June 5th, 2013
7:21 am

We have one, with the net & pads. When we bought it for the kids, we were more concerned with our youngest falling off of it more than anything. No injuries have occurred, other than a little “rug burn” from the mat every now and then. Our yard is fenced and locked, so no worries about uninvited children. They’ve enjoyed it for the last 6 or 7 years.

DB

June 5th, 2013
7:22 am

@FCM: You know, we really enjoyed our pool in Florida, but down there, you could use it almost year-round and it was just part of the backyard — almost everyone in the neighborhood had one, so it wasn’t unique or an “attractive nuisance”. When we moved to Atlanta, my husband asked me if I wanted to look for a house with a pool, and I said no — it just didn’t seem worth the worry with small kids and their friends, considering the limited number of weeks you could use it (especially if it wasn’t heated.) A couple of friends have installed pools in the last two or the years, now that their kids are out of the house. I’d be happy with a little waterfall and a koi pond, personally :-)

Trampolines: Our next door neighbor had one, and the kids enjoyed it, but it was really only interesting to them for about a year.

TnT's Mom

June 5th, 2013
7:26 am

As with any activity for children, rules and supervision is key. We have had one for years. The first one we had when the boys were younger, did have the net. But, we still had rules about how many can jump at once and an adult had to be watching. Later ones as they became teenagers did not have the net.

However, even with rules in place and adults nearby kids will do dumb things. Case in point, my oldest a few years ago when he was 13 thought it would be neat to jump off the tramp, do a flip and land in the massive pile of leaves. The leaf pile was almost as big as the trampoline. Not enough rotation and first instinct is put up your hands. Yep, broken arm.

Mayhem

June 5th, 2013
7:27 am

Well I speak from experience. I had a horrible trampoline accident way back in the summer between 8th-9th grade. Two of us were jumping, myself and a friend. We were messing around and he “sent” me, which means he hit the trampoline right before I did, causing me to go extremely high. I came down from that and without saying anything to me, he “sent” me again. I wasn’t prepared, and ended up going off the trampoline and hitting concrete. I was trying to protect my chin, since I had recently had stitches removed from a bike accident. I ended up in the ER, with what they thought was a sprained wrist. Turns out I had landed on my elbow, and the force of the land knocked my elbow completely out. Ended up having to have surgery, and 3 pins were put in my elbow to put it back where it belonged. I have a beautiful scar on my right arm, it looks like a centipede. Lol

The one thing I see over and over, is too many kids jumping at once. Back in my day, only 2 were allowed to jump at the same time. My brother had one and one day we spotted 8 kids on it at one time. I ran out and made them all get off. After that, heavy supervision!

It used to be called a jump-oline, until your mom got on one. Lol

Mother of 2

June 5th, 2013
7:32 am

We have pediatricians in the family, so no trampolines for us. Neighbors have had them and my kids enjoyed using theirs. We got a backyard pool when they were in middle and high school, but we have house rules that the kids follow.

Trampolines are a fun way to get exercise and outdoor time. You know your kids best so only you can decide whether or not this is right for your family.

dc

June 5th, 2013
7:53 am

Had a trampoline (no walls) for 20+ years. Kids had a blast on it, loved to sit in the deck watching and listening to them play. had a few bangs, bruises, and even a break, but well worth it.

Sad that parents are swinging so far over to “safety” that they aren’t allowing kids to enjoy active lives. Video games may be “safer” physically, but I don’t think that they are in any way better for kids long term

lakerat

June 5th, 2013
8:00 am

My son calls trampolines and motorcycles “job security” – yes, he is an Emergency Medicine physician.

Mayhem

June 5th, 2013
8:20 am

@Lakerat – my mom is a nurse, used to work in ER, called Motorcycles “Donorcycles”.

Tramp Dad

June 5th, 2013
8:30 am

My children wanted a trampoline, but we agreed that they should go into competitive trampoline instead. First of all the trampolines are much more powerful and fun so they learned to do much more than simple bouncing and flips, secondly they were heavily safety-oriented in the gym and no one could jump without supervision and third, they enjoyed a real sporting challenge which included competing in the National Championships for one of them.
It was more expensive but the experience was so much more too.

southpaw

June 5th, 2013
8:39 am

When I was about 8, I was jumping on a friend’s trampoline. My bounces got so high that I topped out at the same height as the roof on his 3-story house. When I finally wanted to stop bouncing, I couldn’t figure out how to get less height on my bounces. Finally I tried bending my knees as I landed, but I soon lost my balance and stumbled toward the side. By the grace of God, I caught myself at the edge of the trampoline and avoided splitting my head open on the concrete underneath. STRONGLY disagree with the notion that pads don’t help avoid injury.

Techmom

June 5th, 2013
8:55 am

My son had one for years when he was younger. Not much of an issue since he’s an only child and it was usually just him jumping on it- we got rid of it when he was about 10 after it ripped. He however has friends who have them now and they do all kind of stuff on them… makes me thankful it’s not my backyard. As crazy as they are though, none of them has gotten hurt other than a scrape or bruise. They’ve also figured out that they’re big enough that only one can be on the trampoline at a time.

Have you guys been to SkyZone? Huge indoor trampoline place. Lots of fun. I figure if someone can get commercial insurance for a warehouse full of these things, they can’t be *that* dangerous! By the way- they’re an awesome workout. 30 minutes in there and I was worn out.

Mini

June 5th, 2013
10:13 am

I agree with Tramp Dad. Competitive Trampoline is an awesome sport (it is in the Olympics and is regulated by USA Gymnastics.) It is a great form of exercise, both boys and girls love it, and the coaching allows kids to safely learn fantastic tricks over time. The competitions (especially for higher levels) are fun to watch. Some gymnastic facilities specialize only in this sport and they have incredible coaches and equipment.

janice

June 5th, 2013
10:56 am

friend of mine her 3 yr old grandson was running to get on tramp in her yard and bam, kid missed, 911 call and visit to er and thankfully child is ok. his is head. i do not understand the fascination of tramps in yards. i remember in jr high gym class having a “professional style tramp” and i was not happy to bounce on it.

with liability like it is, i’d rather go to some place else like sky zone. never had been a believer in having pools in back yards either, cause regardless how safe you make it, some child will always find a way to lower the ladder them self and jump in.

SEE

June 5th, 2013
11:20 am

Who would put a trampoline on or near concrete? That’s asking for trouble. We have ours in a cleared, shady spot at our tree line. We have a fenced in yard as well.

MJG: When we first moved to our home, I worried about my 3 year old running out into the street, so we fenced in our backyard. One day, a neighbor brought him back to our house after finding him IN THE STREET! I should have known he’d be able to climb over the fence. At 1 year of age, he was climbing over the baby gates. I had a friend who was using the bathroom when she heard her 2 year old dragging a chair. She knew that wasn’t a good sign…but there are times when you just can’t “stop”. Sure enough, he had dragged the chair over to the door, unlocked the baby latch at the top and ran outside. She frantically called me to help look for him. He was hiding in the bushes near there house. He is, to this day, extremely intelligent and somewhat reckless.

Mayhem

June 5th, 2013
11:45 am

In my case, the concrete was a small slab at the top of outdoor basement stairs. The concrete slab prevented rain/snow water from going into the basement. I hit that slab, maybe 3 feet x 3 feet.

beth

June 5th, 2013
12:30 pm

From the article: “The most common injuries are sprains, strains and scrapes”. Serisoulsy??? People are afraid of their kids getting scrapes and bruises when the play? Has anyone looked at the statistics for sprains, strains, and scrape injuries on bikes, skate boards, scooters, swimming pools? I have not, but I’m gusessing they are pretty high? Are those banned by most of you as well?

I really think we coddle our kids too much these days. When I was a kid we climbed trees… BIG ones! And we jumped off our swings onto blacktop cement. We didn’t wear helmuts on our bike and the public pools had High Dives. Nowadays we’re afraid of scrapes and bruises. I agree that safety improvements are a good thing! I think when people think of trampolines and start telling these stories of bouncing out to hit their face on concrete, they are talking about old school tramps without nets etc. Now that’s not to say that kids don’t need supervision, they’re still kids! My daughter also takes horseback riding lessons. They wear riding helmuts and practice safety measures but she, and a few other girls, have been bounced off the horse while learning to canter. It is a scary moment for me as a mom, but also a proud moment when I saw her get up and dust herself off and climb right back on. I don’t fret over every “potential” danger.

Back to trampolines…YES, we do have a trampoline with a safety net that sits on a nice area of grassy lawn in our backyard. We have had it for 5 years and have not had a single injury. I consider the net to be the safety equivalant of a helmut for a bike. It has prevented what could have been many serious injury falls out of the trampoline. At one point, our net ripped and no one was allowed on it until we got a replacement. I honestly don’t worry about sprains, bruises, or even broken bones or a the rare spinal injury on our trampoline any more than I do when she rides her bike. My 8 year old is actually MUCH more dare develish on her bike than she is on the trampoline. And now she is asking for a skateboard ramp for Christmas. Yikes! The neighborhood kids do come over to play on our trampoline but they don’t get out of hand. I have laid down the ground rules for the kids to follow and if I find that they are not, they are pulled from the trampoline and sent home for the day. But it just hasn’t been an issue for us at all. My 2 kids and a handful of friends spend HOURS at a time on the trampoline. It’s been nothing but fun for our family so I would advise don’t listen to all the horror stories because for each trampoline horror story there is also an equal one for a bike, a scooter, a swimming pool, a skate board etc. Take appropiate safety measure and let your kid be a kid!

atlanta mom

June 5th, 2013
12:34 pm

When my eldest child was about 5, completely unsolicited the pediatrian said, no trampolines, we haven’t figured out how to fix a broken neck or head.
It made my life so simple. Everytime my youngest asked for a tramp (because she was the risk taker in the family), I could say, sorry no can do, the Dr said no.

beth

June 5th, 2013
12:36 pm

I take that back… we have actually had our trampoline for 7 years without a single injury.

Mattie

June 5th, 2013
12:55 pm

When we discussed getting one for our kids, I called our homeowners’ insurance to see if we needed a separate rider. They made the decision for us when they told me they would cancel our policy if we went ahead.

I never forbade my kids from using them at the homes of friends, and dealt with one broken arm and a scary neck injury as a result.

motherjanegoose

June 5th, 2013
1:00 pm

@ SEE…we too have a fence. The neighbors, with the trampoline in the yard, did not. I know some kids are more adventurous than others. If we had not been outside, their child would have gone straight under the garbage truck. I was shaking when it happened!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I saw several above ground pools when I was in Chicago last month. They were all in yards with no fence and facing a rather busy street. I found it odd. We have a pool in our subdivision and it is locked. I would not want one in my backyard. Easier to pay the pool fees and not worry about it myself.

jmb

June 5th, 2013
1:20 pm

We’ve had one as long as I can remember and no injuries. Theresa, you can get them now that are lower to the ground so maybe one of those would ease you worries. Kids can still bounce but not as far to fall. We also had one that was a water trampoline that we had in the lake. Kids loved that one most of all but it just wasn’t made well and only lasted 2 seasons and cost about 1,400. Bad investment.

joe

June 5th, 2013
2:29 pm

And we wonder why the USA is turning into a nation of wusses.

Growing up, we had a pool and a trampoline. Yes, we fell off and it hurt, but that puts character into a person. I have the scars to prove it. Time and battle tested as my grandfather used to say. How many of you have ever jumped out of an airplane with nothing to save you but a parachute? Try it, you might like it.

Nowadays, you MUST ride a bike with a helmet, you must not own a pool and you must not own a trampoline. Pathetic. All you loony libs who need the government or some association of morons to tell you how to live is turning our nation into France. When France was in trouble in WWII, it was the USA to the rescue. My question is…who is going to save the USA from all the US wusses?

janice

June 5th, 2013
2:49 pm

@joe…..it’s not that we’re “wussies”…..it’s the fact that people sue mcd’s over hot coffee

common sense has been replaced by the attorney’s number on speed dial!

motherjanegoose

June 5th, 2013
2:51 pm

Not a looney liberal joe. Just a parent who , at one time, had a child whose arm was paralyzed and it was the worst experience of my life. I did not want to ever repeat it. I cried enough tears and spent enough time at the DR. office to cover my life time. YES, I rolled down the hill in a large fiberboard drum when I was a kid. There are things I know now that I did not know then.

catlady

June 5th, 2013
4:18 pm

I had a trampoline from 1960-63. I was the only kid in the neighborhood. No pads, no net.

I got one for my youngest when she was about 12. It was a great place to stargaze or sleep on summer nights. It had pads.

My granddaughter has one, with pads and a net. NOW I am scared!

catlady

June 5th, 2013
4:25 pm

My hs BFF got a bad scrape/fabric burn on her chin right before senior pictures. It happened ON THE SCHOOL TRAMP DURING PE! Yes, that is right. Our senior year (69-70) we also played the new game of soccer for about a week. Several broken bones later, they decided we would do something else. We had never seen soccer, and had NO safety gear.

OK, catlady, I will bite...

June 5th, 2013
5:18 pm

….what kind of “safety” gear does one need to play soccer (other than shin guards)? And, did you guys get broken shin bones playing soccer, or some other broken bones from the game, and how?

Joel

June 5th, 2013
10:05 pm

We’re all mortal. I don’t particularly like trampolines but there’s no reason to live in fear of every risk in life. I teach my kids to live life and minimize risk through preparation, not by avoiding anything that might potentially be dangerous. If I wanted to avoid dangerous situations I wouldn’t let them ride in cars.

catlady

June 6th, 2013
9:09 am

Okay: no shinguards. Several cracked or broken bones in the lower leg from someone kicking the (stuffing) out of the other player. Although we had learned the rules on paper, never having seen it played, some folks did not understand “finesse” and thought the way to get the ball was to descend on and batter the one who had it. And I can tell you, when you saw some of those bog old Alabama girls coming at you, you were quite willing to let them have it.

I am sure this sounds far-fetched in this day and time, with our exposure to all kinds of new games (curling? I mean, really?!) but in 1969 the folks where I lived knew nothing about it. I am sure the PE teachers thought this would be fun, like football with no hands or tackeling.

Sunny

June 6th, 2013
11:04 am

If falls are a concern, try placing the trampoline in the ground. One of my neighbors has one set up that way. Of course, the concern is still there for injuries from flips but you don’t have to worry about nets, pads and “falling off.”

lol

June 6th, 2013
11:19 am

Maybe the only thing that would scream “white trash” more than a trampoline would be a camaro up on blocks.

jmb

June 6th, 2013
12:08 pm

@lol, my 68 camaro was up on blocks until we got it ready for paint and I certainly am not trash or do I live in a trashy area so your statement is false.

Patrick

June 6th, 2013
12:17 pm

A friend of mine had one, but it had no net or pads. I think they bought it at a yard sale or thrift store, or else a family member gave it to them. The whole frame was rusted, and many springs were as well, but it still held up.

Her parents had a rule about any friends who were jumping on it: Not unless you bring a note from your parents, relieving them (friend’s parents) of any liability or fault, should you get injured in any way.

We had jumped on it many times. Sometimes it would just be my friend and I; other times it would be with other kids who lived nearby or her sister and little brother. Given the condition the trampoline was in, and no safety guards whatsoever, not to mention it was on HARD ground, it was a miracle no one was injured.

jmb

June 6th, 2013
1:15 pm

What other blogs are good reading for our regular folks? This one has died with only 2 topics in a week. Not sure why I even check in anymore.

beth

June 6th, 2013
1:33 pm

@lol – nothing screams person with low self esteem more than someone who only participates in a conversaton to put others down. LMAO!

terrie

June 6th, 2013
2:00 pm

my kids have had several trampolines and no major injuries……just luck, I guess! I did see a trampoline that was “level” with the ground (a hole had been dug the size of the trampoline and then dropped in…..I thought that was a GREAT idea)

HB

June 6th, 2013
2:07 pm

Is level with ground really safer? Trampolines aren’t that high. Seems like accidentally bouncing off the mat onto unbouncy ground is going to be dangerous regardless of that 3-foot height difference. I’m not sure a little extra height wouldn’t actually be safer — gives a little more time to react and maybe drop and roll.

Ann

June 6th, 2013
2:40 pm

@ jmb – Having trouble counting? There are 3 blog posts in the last four days. Check the sidebar.

the dude

June 6th, 2013
2:54 pm

Good Lord, Do some of you put corks on the end of your kids forks as well?

We had a trampoline as a kid and we would wet down with the hose and put liquid dish soap on it to make it slippery. Fun times by all. Like others said few brusies and scrapes but never had to call life flight.

lol- did your mother have any children that lived?

Richard

June 6th, 2013
2:55 pm

We are constantly looking out for our kids’ safety. As responsible parents, we have taken steps that we believe are essential to their protection:

1. They are not allow to use knives to cut their own food.

2. They have to wear helmets while walking around the home.

3. The back sets of our cars are surrounded in a padding material.

4. Their beds are lowered to the floor so they can’t fall off.

5. They are not allowed outside.

6. They are not allowed to participate in recess.

7. They are not allowed in the kitchen.

8. They are not allowed to ride bikes.

9. They are not allowed to play any game where anything is thrown or swung.

Three cheers for me!!! Right?

Wow, Richard...

June 6th, 2013
3:16 pm

…you kids have recess?

Hey, catlady...

June 6th, 2013
3:36 pm

…did you see this?

“For the 401st year, contestants gathered for the shin-kicking championships held at Dover’s Hill in England…”

catlady

June 6th, 2013
5:35 pm

I can tell you some “girls” that, if they are still in any kind of,shape (we are 61-62 years old now)’ could put,the hurt on someone. Just throw in a ball and tll them to play soccer!

We had,a,cheer,that went ” knock em up side the head, you gotta knock em up side the head! yeah yeah year.”