As the Covid-19 pandemic stretches into the start of the summer season, panicked parents are now forced to find new options for entertaining their kids in the wake of cancelled day camps, sports leagues, and vacations. Sales of at-home outdoor toys have skyrocketed since March, when many shelter in place orders took effect. One backyard activity expected to surge in popularity this summer is the use of trampolines. But these seemingly harmless novelties can have tragic consequences for families who just want to have safe, socially distanced fun.
According to a 2016 study published in a leading pediatric medical journal, emergency room visits as a result of at-home trampoline injuries have increased dramatically over the past decade. By 2014, over 90,000 people a year, most of them children, had sought treatment at a hospital for trampoline related accidents, including fractures, concussions, and head wounds. The rate of injury has continued to rise steadily as home trampolines become more affordable and easily accessed at big box retail stores. In rare but devastating instances, children have sustained catastrophic head and neck trauma leading to lifelong disabilities and even death. These accidents often occur in the blink of an eye as a child attempts a flip and miscalculates the landing, or collides with another jumper.
While at-home trampolines are marketed as a safe way to have outdoor fun, statistics tell a different story. Too many families have had an afternoon of enjoyment take a heartbreaking turn as they rush an injured child to the emergency room. The research is clear: trampolines aren’t worth the risk.