How Trampolines Can Ruin Your Life

A recent policy statement by a group of doctors highlights the inherent dangers of trampolines. Think a net makes them safe? Read how a trampoline can cause severe injury, and how it could ruin your life, even with a “safety net”.

Trampolines are very dangerous. If you have one in your backyard, I would recommend you consider getting rid of it. The risk is just too great that someone will be injured, no matter what preventative measures you may take, and even if you have a “safety net”.

An updated policy statement published in this week’s edition of the journal Pediatrics, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics, reaffirms their position that trampolines not be used in backyards. The study says that 98,000 trampoline-related injuries occurred in the US in 2009, resulting in 3,100 hospitalizations. In a previous 2006 position statement, the group recommended "that trampolines should never be used in the home environment, in routine physical education classes or in outdoor playgrounds." They reaffirmed that position in summer safety tips this year, which advised that parents "should never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to use home trampolines."

Most injuries result from colliding with others, landing improperly or falling off or onto the springs or frames, the Consumer Product Safety Commission notes. Dr. Michele Labotz, a sports medicine physician, and lead author of the trampoline statement says  "parents they think because the trampoline has this soft mat, kids can’t feel the impact.  But they do."

The most common trampoline injuries include fractures, sprains, strains and bruises.  The more dangerous mishaps affect the head and spine, sometimes resulting in catastrophic paralysis.

Researchers say 75% of all trampoline injuries happen when a group of people are jumping together.

People don’t realize it’s all about physics," Labotz said. "If a larger child or adult gets on the trampoline with a 40- or 50-pound youngster, they are sending that child soaring into the air, only to fall down hard on the mat.  That’s like falling from 5 to 10 feet above the ground onto a hard surface."

The American Academy of Pediatrics wants parents and children to understand that certain moves such as somersaults and flips frequently cause spinal injuries that can lead to paralysis, and death.

Netted trampolines are not really much safer, the AAP warns. Two-thirds of the reported trampoline injuries happened when a child or adult hit the mat incorrectly.  Many severe spinal injuries result from poorly executed front and back flips, well within the netting area. Most injuries are as a result of more than one person being on the tramp, not falling off of the tramp, so the net is often of no use whatsoever in preventing most trampoline injuries.

The AAP also suggests homeowners who have trampolines make sure they have insurance that covers trampoline-related injuries.

The other important insurance issue is the amount of your insurance limits. If someone is rendered a paraplegic or quadriplegic as a result of a trampoline injury, the amount of their damage claim could exceed 5 million dollars. If your home insurance limits are only 1 million dollars, you the homeowner may be personally responsible for the balance over your insurance limits. This could cause you to lose all your assets, including your home, business, everything. You could be forced into bankruptcy.

My advice: get rid of the trampoline.

Don’t subject your kids, and your assets, to significant risk.

Paul Mitchell, a BC personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience with severe injury claims, including spinal injury claims.He acts for the injured all over BC, and will not act for any insurance company.

For more information on severe injury claims, or for a confidential discussion of your claim, contact Paul Mitchell, Q.C. at 250-869-1115 (direct line), or send him a confidential email at [email protected]

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