As a Phoenix personal injury lawyer, I generally deal with lawsuits concerning car accidents or dog bites; however, occasionally I have a case involving a trampoline injury. Some parents see trampolines as toys that will keep their children occupied away from the television and ipads; however, according to SpineUniverse.com, home-use trampolines actually cause the most trampoline-related injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics has gone so far as to recommend that parents never purchase trampolines for home use and never allow their children to jump on trampolines at someone else's home.
The majority of trampoline-related injuries are fractures and sprains. In calendar year 2006, reports the Consumer Product Safety Review, trampolines caused an estimated 109,522 injuries, of these approximately 104,729 were treated in emergency rooms and released. The rest, approximately 4,793, were either hospitalized or dead on arrival. SpineUniverse.com reports six trampoline-related deaths since 1990. Since 1995, the number of injuries has increased between 30% and 45% because of the increased popularity of trampolines.
According to Insurance 4USA.com, insurers are wary of trampolines and often attach trampoline exclusions to their policies. If someone is injured on your trampoline, your homeowners insurance may not cover it, leaving you vulnerable to having to use personal assets to cover damages and legal costs. In fact, your insurance company may also cancel your homeowner's policy entirely if a drive-by inspection reveals a trampoline in your yard.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages the use of trampolines, saying they pose a major injury risk for kids and there is no demonstrable way to reduce the risk at this time. Adult supervision is unlikely to prevent injuries; in fact, many parents do not know basic safety tips to avoid accidents, let alone first aid.
Tips to Avoid Trampoline Injuries
According to Dr. David Geier (Sports Medicine) and others,these tips might prevent some trampoline accidents:
- Allow only one jumper on the trampoline at a time.
- Do not allow jumpers wearing shoes.
- Do not allow jumping when the trampoline is wet.
- Ensure that the trampoline has adequate padding, especially around the springs.
- Do not modify the trampoline by removing safety netting.
- Actively supervise the trampoline at all times; there should be two spotters at all times.
- Do not allow flips, somersaults, or other gymnastics on trampolines – these can lead to catastrophic head and cervical injuries.
- Do not depend on netting to prevent injuries; in reality, it does little to prevent injuries.
- Make sure the trampoline sits on a level surface and has no trees or other nearby hazards.
- Create a trampoline pit with minimum of four feet on both sides and 5 feet on both ends to preclude touching of the bottom by a jumper.
- Provide adequate padding (minimum 2 inches of pea gravel on bare ground) of the surrounding area.
- Mark the center of the trampoline with a bull's eye or cross.
- Do not leave ladders or other devices used to ascend the trampoline in order to avoid small children climbing onto the trampoline when you are absent.
The Ciulla Law Firm, PLLC, Phoenix, Arizona.