Are trampoline parks too dangerous for kids?

In this June 26, 2017 photo provided by Eddie Hill, Hill's son Colton is comforted while lying in a hospital bed at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. The 3-year-old Florida boy is in a cast from the waist down for an injury suffered while jumping at a trampoline park, his family said Tuesday, July 11 in a case that has circulated nationally on social media and raised questions about age restrictions for the activity. (Eddie Hill via AP)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa toddler’s scary visit to a trampoline park has left many parents wondering about age restrictions and other safety rules for jumping on trampolines.

The child’s mother, Kaitlin Hill said the 3-year-old broke his thigh bone in June while bouncing on a trampoline at an indoor park, which promoted the use of trampolines by toddlers, despite warnings from medical professionals.

Thousands of people are injured by trampolines each year, and children under the age of six are at a higher risk of injury. Almost 95,000 Americans showed up in hospital emergency rooms for trampoline injuries in 2012, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

According to HealthyChildren.org, the most common injuries include broken bones, concussions, sprains/strains, bruises, scrapes, cuts and head and neck injuries, which mostly occur when more than one person is using a trampoline. The organization says children run the risk of getting hurt when they:

  • Land wrong while jumping.
  • Land wrong while flipping and doing somersaults (this should not be allowed because of the risk of head and neck injuries).
  • Try stunts.
  • Strike or are struck by another person.
  • Fall or jump off the trampoline.
  • Land on the springs or frame

In a 2006 position statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended “that trampolines should never be used in the home environment, in routine physical education classes or in outdoor playgrounds.”

But what about indoor trampoline parks?

Although the majority of trampoline-related injuries happen at home, trampoline park injuries have skyrocketed as the industry continues to grow. A 2016 study published in Pediatrics found trampoline park-related hospital visits jumped from under 600 in 2010 to almost 7,000 in 2014.

The author of the study, pediatrician Kathryn Kasmire of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, told USA Today that most parks have done a good job of ensuring that youngsters do not fall of trampolines and that the likelihood of head injuries is reduced because the floors are covered with a bouncy surface, but she notes that this type of surface can actually increase the risk of other injuries if a person happens to land between two trampolines.

In a statement to USA Today, the International Association of Trampoline Parks said the rise in injuries is to be expected and that they “believe that the positives of youth recreational sports far outweigh the negatives, and we are actively engaged in programs aimed at promoting the safety and well-being of jumpers who visit our member parks.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics says there is no safe age for children to jump on trampolines, but if they must, kids should be advised to not do flips or have more than one jumper on at a time.

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