The number of indoor trampoline parks is rising in the United States - and so are the number of trampoline park related injuries. A study in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics finds the number of injuries went up from under 600 in 2010 to almost 7,000 in 2014. During that same time the number of trampoline parks rose from just over 40 to almost 300. "There are so many injuries that can happen at a trampoline park," says Troy Madsen, MD, an emergency room physician with University of Utah Health. "We have seen everything from sprains to fractures to spinal cord injuries."
The study found that of those injured one out of 11 had to be admitted to the hospital. Researchers also found that in some cases the injuries caused paralysis or led to serious surgery. "We have known for some time about the dangers associated with trampolines," says Madsen. "Just because they are put in a facility rather than a backyard doesn't mean they are any less dangerous."
The International Association of Trampoline Parks says the rise in injuries shouldn't cause alarm and is simply due to the increased number of parks. They also said parks are "actively engaged in programs aimed at promoting the safety and well-being of jumpers." Safety features at the parks usually include padded walls and floors, as well as employees monitoring jumpers. "It's great that they have safety measures in place," says Madsen. "However, those measures can create a false sense of security while the possibility of injury is still there."
There are ways to reduce, but not eliminate the risk of injury. First, always jump alone. More than one person on a trampoline increases the risk of collision and injury. Also, jumpers should avoid doing summersaults or other acrobatics that could injure their necks. Young children should be kept off of trampolines completely. "Children under the age of six have the greatest risk of injury," says Madsen. "They don't have the control of their bodies they need to protect themselves."
There are safer ways to get exercise than at a trampoline park. However, sometimes the thrill of the jump is just too tempting. Knowing the risks could help you prevent injuries. "There is no guarantee you won't be injured," says Madsen. "You need to decide if it's worth the risk."