According to a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 89,000 people were admitted to emergency rooms for trampoline-related injuries in 2004. Another study by the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Rhode Island found that trampoline injuries have nearly doubled in a decade, of which three percent were serious enough to require hospitalization, and 91 percent occurred in a home environment.
With regard to accidents at home, Gary Smith, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Chairman of the Committee on Injury pointed out that parents view trampolines as toys for their children without recognizing the danger involved. He cautioned that "the trade-off between the potential for exercise and injury ... doesn't merit the risk involved”.
While fractures and dislocations continue to be the predominant reason for trampoline-related injury hospitalization, more cuts and lacerations are being seen in those who need to be hospitalized. More serious injuries include those to the spinal cord and even death. Most injuries are due to collisions by multiple jumpers, landing improperly, falling or jumping off the trampoline, and falling on the trampoline’s springs or frame.
To help prevent trampoline injuries in your home:
- Allow only one person on the trampoline at a time
- Always supervise children who use a trampoline
- Do not allow children less than six years of age to use a full-size trampoline
- Do not use a ladder because it provides unsupervised access by small children
- Do not attempt or allow somersaults - landing on the neck or head can cause paralysis
- Make sure the trampoline has shock-absorbing pads that completely cover its frame, springs, and hooks
- Place the trampoline away from trees, structures, and other play areas
- Consider a trampoline enclosure to help prevent falls off of the trampoline
"One person at a time on the trampoline is the big one, and that's probably the one that's most ignored... If that rule alone was followed, it would be a dramatic improvement in the safety of your backyard trampoline" said Arch Adams, president of Fun Spot Trampolines.
It is precisely this danger that is the subject of a current lawsuit that could be headed to the Ohio Supreme Court. The plaintiff originally argued that she was not aware that more than one person jumping on a trampoline could change a trampoline’s surface from flexible to inflexible and create a “double bounce” such as one she claims propelled her out of control. While the plaintiff’s brother jumped in the middle of a trampoline, the plaintiff, who was near the edge of the trampoline, fell on her back, broke her neck, and suffered a crushed spinal cord, rendering her a quadriplegic.
The county court had decided for the defendants, the homeowners and the trampoline’s manufacturer, based on the legal doctrine of "open and obvious." The appellate court then reversed the decision arguing that the dangers presented by multiple people and excess weight on a trampoline are not widely known to most people who use them. Trampoline manufacturers and enthusiasts eagerly await the final outcome of this important case.
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a trampoline accident, you or your loved one may be entitled to compensation. We urge you to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate the merits of your case.