Guest blogger Julie W.: When a friend's daughter suffered a broken ankle on a trampoline, I thought, "Should I take my kids off for good?"
Last week, my friend's 9-year-old daughter got severely injured on a trampoline. A much larger boy accidentally fell on her, and all the kids immediately knew she was badly hurt. Her foot was so broken, it was flopped over in what her parents describe as "an S-shape." I have been too squeamish to look at the photo they took of it.
Emergency-room doctors say they see many trampoline-related injuries. But should we moms keep our kids away from the bouncy fun? Pediatrician and momlogic friend Dr. Gwenn gives us her take on the dangers of backyard trampolines:
"It never fails," she says. "In fact, not only can I count on this, so can you: Two kids plus one backyard trampoline equals injury. The injury can be mild to major and can involve one or more kids, but it WILL happen -- and often includes sprains, contusions, lacerations, head traumas, spinal traumas, dislocations, bumps, bruises and concussions. Safety nets don't prevent these from happening; they just prevent your kids from getting injured on the ground.
"You may think that most sound parents, including ourselves, would be swayed by the reams of data that support the dangers of trampolines, and keep their kids off," continues Dr. Gwenn. "But more times than not, I hear parents say, 'What can I do? She/he just loves it so much!' This is usually mentioned to me during an evaluation for an injury, by the way. Now do you see why I'm worried?
"Bouncing is fun, but it is impossible to bounce in total control," Dr. Gwenn adds. "Three rules come into play that I can always count on. These rules, while based in science, are my own creation and come from years of treating kids with similar injuries from bouncing: 1) Whoever goes up ... must come down. 2) The bigger you are, the harder you fall. 3) If there is something that can cause hidden harm ... it will. Part of the issue with backyard trampolines is that the actual rules are hardly ever followed." (Dr. Gwenn recommends that readers click on this link to read up on some typical backyard-trampoline rules.)
After seeing what happened to our little friend, I am tempted to tell my kids they are never allowed to play on trampolines. I can't see how the fun is worth the risk.
As a mom, are you tempted to bend the rules?