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Docs Urge Parents to Keep Kids Off Backyard Trampolines

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013   

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The child with the trampoline in the backyard might be the most popular kid on the block, but many doctors say parents ought to keep their children off home trampolines. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that nearly 10,000 emergency-room visits nationally last year were for trampoline-related injuries.

According to pediatrician Dr. Denise Dowd, who works in the emergency room at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, it's especially dangerous when there are many children jumping at once.

"You know, they crash into each other and they land on each other," as she described such accidents. "About three-quarters of all the injuries actually happen when there are many people on the mat at the same time."

Dowd said safety nets around the jumping surfaces don't help that much, because while they keep kids from falling off, they don't keep them from hurting themselves when they hit other children or fall in a way that breaks a bone.

She doesn't like to see any children using backyard trampolines, but she's especially concerned about what can happen to smaller children jumping in groups.

"The littler kids, smaller ones, are much more likely to get injuries than the bigger ones," the doctor said. "So if you think about it, a bigger kid's going to create a recoil in the mat that's a lot more, relative to the lighter kid that they're jumping with."

Dowd said children should never practice somersaults or flips on home trampolines because of the risk of paralysis from a broken neck.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission also recommends no flips, keeping children under the age of six off trampolines, and only allowing one child to jump at a time.

So what about those blow-up bouncy houses that are put up at block parties? Dowd said she sees a lot of children who get injured in those things too.

"I wouldn't put my kid in there if there's a whole ton of them in there," she said. "Head injuries are a big one. You put, like, a bunch of three-year-olds in there and they're bumping into each other, smashing their heads into each other."

The American Academy of Pediatrics is reaffirming its recommendation against home trampolines and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends against using trampolines in the home environment, gym classes and outdoor parks.

More information is at goo.gl/bStgFO and at AAOS.org.




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