The recreational use of trampolines has increased significantly since the 1950s, and even though trampolines can be fun, they can also cause serious injury. Last week Joba Chamberlain, a baseball player for the Yankees, underwent surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital after injuring his ankle while jumping on a trampoline with his 5-year-old son. Chamberlain was released on Sunday and will spend the following six weeks in a cast as a he recovers from his injury, one that could have threatened his career.

John Purvis, M.D., spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), said:

“Although trampolines can be fun for both kids and adults, they pose a high risk for injuries, especially when two or more people jump at one time. Orthopedic surgeons recommended that trampolines not be used in home environments or in outdoor playgrounds because of the high risk of injuries from this activity.”

The AAOS has created an audio public service message as well as a position statement regarding trampoline safety in order to prevent injuries sustained from trampolines, rather than treat them.

Trampoline with enclosure
Safety nets make trampolines safer. However, most injuries with no safety nets occur within the trampoline itself

The AAOS recommends the following guidelines:

  • Check the equipment regularly for safety conditions
  • Remove trampoline ladders after use in order to prevent unsupervised access by young children
  • Children should be supervised and instructed by a competent adult at all times
  • Trampolines should only be used by one person at any time
  • Trampolines are not recommended for children under the age of 6
  • Use of trampolines for competitive gymnastics, diving training, physical education and other similar activities required careful adult supervision and proper safety measures
  • The trampoline-jumping surface should be placed at ground level
  • Safety net enclosures may provide a false sense of security – the majority of accidents occur on the trampoline surface
  • There should be enough protective padding around the supporting bars, strings and surrounding landing surfaces
  • Trampolines should not be used for unsupervised recreational activity
  • When participants are jumping, it is vital that spotters are present. Somersaults or other high-risk maneuvers should not be performed without proper supervision and instruction and should only be done with proper use of protective equipment, such as a harness.

AAOS produced an audio public service message

“AAOS Position Statement – Trampolines and Trampoline Safety”

Written by Grace Rattue