The popularity of trampoline parks is on the rise, and with it the number of emergency-room visits for injuries that kids get while at these parks, according to a new study.
The number of kids who went to the emergency room for injuries that occurred at trampoline parks increased nearly twelvefold in the past few years, jumping to 6,932 ER visits in 2014, up from 581 in 2010, the study found.
Some of the most serious injuries the kids in the study got at trampoline parks included injuries of the neck or spinal cord and open fractures (meaning the broken bone sticks out through the skin), said Dr. Kathryn E. Kasmire, a pediatrician at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford and the lead author of the study. [9 Weird Ways Kids Can Get Hurt]
The number of trampoline parks in recent years increased from between 35 and 40 parks in 2011 to 280 in 2014, according to the data from the International Association of Trampoline Parks cited in the new study. About five to six new parks open every month, according to the association.
In the study, published today (Aug. 1) in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers looked at the numbers of injuries at trampoline parks in the U.S. that sent kids to the emergency room between 2010 and 2014.
During this time period, kids were admitted to emergency rooms for an average of 91,750 injuries related to trampoline use per year. Those injuries occurred while kids were using trampolines at home, at trampoline parks and at other locations such as recreational facilities, the researchers found.
The researchers focused on the types of injuries that kids got at trampoline parks and on trampolines at home. They found that sprains and fractures were the most common types of injuries at both trampoline parks and homes.
But injuries at trampoline parks were more likely to involve the leg and were less likely to involve the head, compared with injuries sustained at homes, the researchers found.
In addition, kids who were injured at trampoline parks were more likely to go to the hospital for their injuries than those who were injured while using trampolines at home, the researchers found.
The scientists also found that kids who had been injured at trampoline parks tended to be older, with an average age of 13, compared with kids who had been injured at home, with an average age of 9.5.
And boys were more likely to be injured than girls, at both trampoline parks and at home, according to the findings.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against kids using recreational trampolines at any location. And if children do use trampolines, adults should constantly supervise them, the AAP recommends.
Dr. Mitchell Price, a pediatric surgeon and director of pediatric trauma at Staten Island University Hospital in New York, agreed. "Always have an adult around," said Price, who was not involved in the new study.
And it is not recommended for more than one child to be on a trampoline at once, Price added.
Indeed, having multiple kids jumping on the same trampoline was a factor in many of the injuries described in the study, Kasmire said. If parents do decide to take their kids to trampoline parks, they should try to pick times when the parks are less crowded to avoid this issue, she said.
The AAP also advises that trampolines be surrounded with padding or trampoline walls, and that trampolines be placed at ground level to increase the kids' safety. The association also recommends that kids avoid flips and somersaults while using trampolines.
Originally published on Live Science.