Feature

Health scare of the week: Taking a bad bounce

In 2009 alone, 98,000 people were injured and 3,100 hospitalized after trampoline accidents.

Trampolines may seem like harmless fun—and good exercise—for kids. But a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that the bouncing mats are far too dangerous for use in the backyard. In 2009 alone, 98,000 people were injured and 3,100 hospitalized after trampoline accidents. Many of those accidents led to fractures and dislocations, and nearly one in five of them resulted in head and neck injuries, which “carry the greatest risk of leading to catastrophic damage,” such as paralysis and permanent brain damage, pediatrician Susannah Briskin of Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland tells Reuters.com. Children under the age of 6 accounted for roughly a third of the injuries, and since their heads are relatively large for their bodies, they are “more likely to land on their heads” than older children are, says pediatrician Ruth Borgen of Hackensack University Medical Center. Trampoline safety devices like nets and padding don’t appear to reduce injury rates, nor does parental supervision. Jumping with friends is especially fraught: Some 75 percent of accidents happen when more than one person is bouncing. In that scenario, says Briskin, “the biggest at-risk population is the smallest person on the trampoline.”

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