U.S. pediatricians urged Monday that kids stay off of trampolines at home and at the playground, saying that emergency departments across the country see nearly 100,000 injuries from them each year.
The statement from the American Academy of Pediatricians updates recommendations from 1999, which caused manufacturers to add safety features to the products in an attempt to mitigate the risks. However the AAP warns that these measures may "provide a false sense of security."
Dr. Susannah Briskin, a sports medicine specialist who helped to draft the new statement, said:
"As best we can tell, the addition of safety nets and padding has actually not changed the injuries we have seen."
Briskin said that it is estimated that the number of trampoline injuries in the U.S. has been dropping - from 111,851 cases treated in the ER in 2004 to 97,908 in 2009 - but says that does not necessarily mean that the trampolines have become any less dangerous. Briskin added:
"Even though there has been a decrease in injuries, I caution people against taking that too literally because the number of trampolines has also decreased."
The statement, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, says that three-quarters of injuries occur when more than one person are jumping at the same time, often when a smaller child is bouncing with a heavier one. The impact of the larger child with thrust the smaller one high into the air, increasing the chances of a rough landing, particularly if the child comes down at an awkward point.
One in 200 trampoline injuries leads to permanent neurologic damage.
The AAP "strongly" discourages recreational use of trampolines, but says that there is too little data to make recommendations on use in sports and structured training.
For parents who are unwilling to stop their children from using trampolines, the AAP recommends a few tips to make it safer, including checking that your insurance policy covers trampoline related claims, using the mat one at a time, having effective padding around springs and frame, placing the trampoline on level ground, avoiding somersaults and flips, and actively supervising kids.