As a Chicago personal injury lawyer, I see firsthand the atrocities associated with trampoline usage. It seems no matter how many times families are presented with statistics about scary trampoline injuries, many parents are simply unwilling to take a trampoline out of their backyard. So the question remains, if we can’t convince people to remove trampolines, should we simply advocate a safer product?
What child has not at one point or another begged their parents for a trampoline? And who can blame them? If jumping on a bed is fun, jumping on a spring-loaded device made to propel you in the air and bounce you back up again is a riot. Unfortunately, the injury statistics for trampolines over the last few decades have also proved that it is also extremely unsafe. Strides have been made to make the trampoline safer for home use, but have these attempts been successful?
In 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commissions (CPSC) NEISS (National Electronic Injury Surveillance System) reported 92,159 injuries related to trampolines. Over 80% of these were in children 14 years and younger. 3507 of these injuries resulted in hospitalization or were DOA at the hospital. The statistics are staggering considering that regardless of the hype of trampoline safety concerns and companies adding “safety” features such as netting, the amount of injuries is still very high.
The majority of trampoline injuries, 52%, occur from participants falling off the trampoline itself. 31% are reported to happen from hitting the springs or the frame. The other 17% are from hitting another person on the device. Basically, 83% are attributed to the trampolines design and the rest are from multiple persons jumping at the same time.
Safety Features Of Newer Trampolines
Starting in 1999, after many consumer complaints and a call from the American Association of Pediatrics to have trampolines banned, the International Trampoline Industry Association (ITIA) worked with the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) to increase safety standards. Over the next few years, standards were improved to make sure springs & frame were padded, no ladders were sold with trampolines, netting, and warnings against unsafe practices, such as allowing children under 6 and having multiple jumpers, were added. Despite these changes, the numbers of injuries have not significantly reduced. In fact, there were more trampoline injuries in 2010 than there were in 2002.
One company has gone further in the development of creating a “safe” trampoline then many of its predecessors. SpringFree Trampolines have designed their products to address the safety issues, creating a trampoline with no “springs” in the traditional sense, upgrading the padding and mat material design and also creating an enclosure that is an integral part of the structure. On paper, it has addressed the main concerns and safety issues associated with trampoline injuries. They tout themselves as the “World’s Safest Trampoline”. Other trampoline companies have improved their safety designs as well, including the AlleyOop, who also claim to be #1 in safety.
Whether these new trampolines have really made the sport safe still remains to be seen. These products have been around for close to a decade yet trampoline injuries are still as high as they were ten years ago. The designs have been improved, but the numbers of injuries, unfortunately, are still the same.