By DR. SALLY ROBINSON
Trampolines are popular among children and teens and even among some adults. Although they are fun, landing wrong can cause serious injuries. Injuries can occur even when a trampoline has a net and padding and parents are watching. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a strong statement against the use of trampolines at home.

More information can be found at www.healthychildren.org. If families choose to use a trampoline anyway, they should take precautions to make the experience as safe as possible.

How do most injuries occur on trampolines?

• About 27 to 39 percent of injuries happen when kids fall off the trampoline. Another 20 percent are injured when they contact the springs or frame.

• Somersaults and flips tend to be the cause of the most serious injuries.

• Most injuries happen when there are multiple jumpers, and usually the smallest child is injured.

• One-third to one-half of injuries happen under adult supervision.

What types of injuries are most common on trampolines?

• Lower body sprains (especially ankle sprains), strains and soft tissue injuries

• Leg, upper extremity, sternum (breast bone) and other upper body fractures

• Head and neck injuries

• Cervical spine injuries

Don’t pads and nets make trampolines safer to use?

While netting and padding help prevent some types of injuries, they do not prevent injuries on the trampoline mat, according to the AAP.

What can be done to make trampolines safer?

• Place the trampoline on a level surface free from surrounding hazards.

• Inspect protective padding and net enclosure often, and replace any damaged parts.

• Allow only one person on the trampoline at a time.

• Prohibit users from doing somersaults or flips.

• Have an adult supervise those using the trampoline, and enforce rules at all times.

• Check homeowners insurance policy to ensure it covers trampoline-related claims. If not, a rider may be needed.

What if my child is invited to a friend’s house that has a trampoline or to an event at a commercial trampoline park?
Commercial trampoline parks and other places with trampolines may not always enforce APP’s suggested safety rules. Tell your child not to do somersaults or flips while on the trampoline and not to go on the same trampoline as another person. Ensure that an adult is enforcing the safety rules.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.