Trampolines have long been one of the most popular forms of outdoor play
among youngsters in the U.S., but new warnings may have them put to rest for good. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is discouraging the use of trampolines by children, declaring there is a major risk involved when using the equipment with no effective way to reduce the chances of youngsters getting injured.
The AAP back up their warnings with data collected from 2009, the last year of available data on trampoline use and injury. Experts found trampoline injury rates were 70 injuries per 100,000 in kids up to age 4, while there were 160 injuries per 100,000 in the 5 to 14 age group, totaling 98,000 injuries per year.
Falls are responsible for 40 percent of total trampoline injuries, and the risk increased when the equipment was placed on uneven ground. AAP representatives feel even the safety
tools, like nets that enclose trampolines, aren't enough to prevent serious injuries. The majority of trampoline fall injuries resulted in fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains, bruises and other soft-tissue issues.
"Unfortunately, the very forces that make trampoline use fun for many children also lead to unique injury mechanisms and patterns of injury," the authors of the recent study said in a statement.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hospital in New York City, shares the AAP beliefs on this matter, though he wasn't involved in the study. He told CBS News trampolines are not the best method for parents looking to get their kids to exercise.
"Although parents may see the trampoline as a fun and engaging way to have their children exercise, the potential for serious and catastrophic injury should make them think twice about this dangerous activity," Glatter told the publication in an email.
Luckily for parents, there are many other fun activities out there that are safer than trampolines. Going for family bike rides and letting children burn off calories while using commercial playground equipment
are both effective ways to keep kids engaged in natural play
while exercising. There are some safety regulations to follow on playgrounds
however, including making sure the surface material under the play set is shock absorbent in case of falls, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports. Teaching youngsters to use the handrails while climbing playground equipment
and using equipment when it's dry, rather than wet can also help keep them safe.