Exercise is important for kids, but there’s one form of exercise most pediatricians will caution against: trampolines. Trampolines are not toys.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published an article showing that trampoline injuries have increased over the past decade, and the organization advises against recreational trampolining altogether. Furthermore, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states that children under the age of 6 should never use trampolines.

Collisions, falls and improper landings can all cause severe harm, and the youngest kids are the ones most at risk. If your kids do play on trampolines, here’s some advice on how to keep them safer.

Trampoline safety tips

  • Only one person should be allowed to jump at a time.
  • There must be adult supervision at all times.
  • Do not jump with any sharp objects in hand, like a rock or a pencil.

When you increase the number of people on a trampoline, the risk of injury increases exponentially, so kids should be jumping in a controlled environment and not playing games on the trampoline. I remember when people used to place mallets on the trampoline and they would fly everywhere. This type of environment could lead to serious injury.

As for jumping at a friend’s house, I probably would not allow my kids to go; I’m just that strict about trampoline safety in my house. However, some rules to think about when sending your child to a friend’s trampoline are:

  • Make sure the parents of the child’s friend understand and implement trampoline safety.
  • Make sure your child’s friend is educated on trampoline risks.
  • Again, one person on the trampoline at a time.

What to do if your child falls from a trampoline

If a child falls from a trampoline, parents should assess the injured area and contact their pediatrician right away. If the child is showing any of the following signs, take your child to the Emergency Department right away:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Signs of a concussion
  • Acting strangely
  • If there is any swelling or tenderness to the injured area
  • If the bones are pliable

There are other ways to play aside from a trampoline. If children want to jump, they can skip rope, jump rope or do gymnastics. A gymnastics gym setting would be ideal for kids who want to jump and tumble, where they have expertise, coaching and guidance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Fagbuyi, MD, FAAP was an emergency medicine pediatrician at Children’s National.

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Posts from Daniel Fagbuyi, MD, FAAP