Kids More Likely to Be Seriously Injured at a Trampoline Center Than at Home

By Linda Carroll

June 23, 2022

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Serious injuries may be more likely when kids use trampolines at specialized centers than when using trampolines at home, a new study suggests.

A reanalysis of data from 11 previous studies that included nearly 14 million injuries revealed a more than two-fold increase in the likelihood of musculoskeletal and/orthopedic injuries at trampoline centers compared with home trampolines, researchers report in Injury Prevention.

"Although trampolining is fun, it has hidden dangers for children that families should be aware of," said Dr. Carlos Nunez Miranda, a research associate at the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit at the University of Sydney's Faculty of Medicine and Health. "Injuries occur both at home and at trampoline parks, but the patterns of injury vary."

"For instance, in our analyses, we found a more than two-fold increased risk for musculoskeletal/orthopaedic injuries (for example, fractures) and leg (lower extremity) injuries at trampoline centers compared to on home trampolines," he told Reuters Health by email. "We also identified an increased risk for requirement for surgery and sprains at trampoline centers. On the other hand, arm (upper extremity) injury, concussion and lacerations were more likely to occur on home trampolines."

To take a closer look at the prevalence of trampoline injuries both at home and specialized trampoline venues, Dr. Nunez Miranda and his colleagues scoured the medical literature for studies to use in a meta-analysis. The researchers identified 11 studies that included data on 1,386,843 injuries.

Overall, children injured at a trampoline center were older than those injured using a trampoline at home, the researchers found.

Youngsters had a significantly increased likelihood of musculoskeletal and/or orthopedic injuries (odds ratio, 2.45), lower-extremity injury (OR, 2.81), sprains (OR, 1.64) and a need for surgery (OR, 1.89) at trampoline centers compared with home trampolines.

In contrast, the researchers found that upper-extremity injury (OR, 0.49), concussion (OR, 0.48) and lacerations (OR, 0.46) were significantly less likely to occur at trampoline centers compared with home trampolines.

"Mandatory and consistent safety standards are urgently required for both trampoline centres and home trampolines," Dr. Nunez Miranda said. "For example, commercial trampoline franchises do not have safety rules to prevent kids from performing somersaults and backflips: these activities should be banned because they have been associated with increased risk of injury on home trampolines."

"We need to increase public awareness of the potential for childhood injury from trampoline use and the need for safety standards," he added.

The new study is an important contribution to the literature on trampoline-related injuries, said Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

"However, I would interpret the findings of the study more cautiously than do the authors, who state that 'children using trampoline centers are more likely to suffer severe trauma and require surgical intervention than children using home trampolines.'" Dr. Smith told Reuters Health by email.

"The authors do not define 'severe trauma' in their article, and they acknowledge that 'surgical interventions' was 'not specifically defined,'" he said. "Although one comparatively small study from Australia showed an approximate 15-hour longer median length of hospital stay for trampoline-park injuries that was statistically significant, there was no difference in the hospital admission rate for trampoline-park-related injuries compared with home-trampoline injuries across all studies."

"Aerobic exercise is important for children's health but there are safer aerobic activities than trampolining for children," Dr. Smith said. "Trampolines were designed as training devices and were never intended to be used as a toy simultaneously by multiple children under poor supervision, which is commonly the case both in backyards as well as in trampoline centers."

"I support stronger uniform safety regulations for trampoline centers and recommend that if parents have children who would like to engage in trampolining that they do so under the supervision of a trained professional coach," Dr. Smith said.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3yadaSm Injury Prevention, online June 13, 2022.

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