My 7-year-old is begging for a backyard trampoline, but I'm concerned that she could hurt herself while jumping. Am I worried for nothing?
Answer From Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.
Your worries about trampoline jumping are justified.
Trampoline jumping poses a high risk of injury for children. The activity can result in sprains and fractures in the arms or legs — as well as head and neck injuries. The risk of injury is so high that the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages the use of trampolines at home. Trampoline park injuries also are on the rise.
If you allow your child to use a trampoline, follow these important safety rules:
- Use safety nets and pads. For home trampolines, install a trampoline enclosure — a special net designed to surround the trampoline — and cover the trampoline's frame, springs and surrounding landing surfaces with protective pads. Regularly check the equipment for tears, detachments and deterioration.
- Place home trampolines at ground level. A fall from a higher surface increases the risk of injury. Make sure the trampoline is set a safe distance from trees and other hazards.
- Limit trampoline activity. Don't allow a child younger than age 6 years to use the trampoline. Allow only one person to use the trampoline at a time. Don't allow flying somersaults or other potentially risky moves on the trampoline without supervision, instruction and proper use of protective equipment such as a harness.
- Don't allow unsupervised jumping. If you use a trampoline ladder, always remove it after use to prevent unsupervised access by children.
Keep in mind that trampoline injuries frequently occur despite adult supervision. Make sure adults actively enforce safety rules.
March 10, 2020
- Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, et al. Trampoline safety in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2012; doi:10.1542/peds.2012-2082. Reaffirmed 2015.
- Trampolines and trampoline safety. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. https://www.aaos.org/about/bylaws-policies/statements--resolutions/position-statements/. Accessed Feb. 12, 2020.
- Kasmire KE, et al. Trampoline park and home trampoline injuries. Pediatrics. 2016; doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1236.
- Hadley-Miller N, et al. Trends in trampoline fractures: 2008-2017. Pediatrics. 2020; doi:10.1542/peds.2019-0889.