Commercial indoor trampoline parks are springing up in cities across the nation, but many pediatricians are urging parents to keep their kids away from them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a warning several years ago about trampolines. But at least one local pediatrician says if you follow proper rules, the risk of injury could be lower.
Indoor trampolines create a new kind of extreme sport experience. At Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park in Midlothian, kids have a lot of options: slam ball, dodgeball and a foam pit. It’s all the rage with kids and parents, but it’s not always fun and games.
Alex Feldman sprained his ankle at Jumpology in Glen Allen six months ago; his ankle was still badly swollen and bruised two weeks after the accident.
“Like 30 seconds in, after my first jump, I came down really hard on my right ankle, rolled it,” he said.
Feldman has had to go through physical therapy and says he still feels some discomfort.
“It feels almost arthritic in the mornings sometimes,” he said.
Over the last decade, trampolines have been linked to more than 1 million ER visits. The American Academy of Pediatrics even warns parents not to let their kids play on them.
Dr. Gary Snowden says in his 20 years as a pediatrician, he’s seen many sprains and strains from trampoline injuries. Sometimes, these injuries can even be fatal. Last year, a teen died at a Florida trampoline park when he landed on his head doing flips.
Since opening last spring, Jumpology has seen more than 200,000 customers. EMS records show 18 ambulances have been dispatched for a range of injuries, including broken bones.
“As with any sport of any kind, or any extreme sport, there are injuries that will occur,” said Hynumee Larkin, the co-owner of Jumpology.
Sky Zone, which opened five months ago, has only seen a few injuries. In fact, a 2012 study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found only 3 percent of all sports-related injuries happened on a trampoline. That’s why Dr. Snowden says it’s all about how you jump.
“Bicycle injuries are far more common than trampoline injuries, but I’m not going to tell a child not to ride a bike,” he said. “There are safe ways to do it and there are unsafe ways to do it.”
Statistics show at least 75 percent of trampoline injuries happen when there are multiple people jumping. That’s why doctors recommend only one person jump at a time. Most trampoline parks, including the ones in the Richmond area, have safety measures in place, including monitors, to make sure everyone follows the rules.
“Some of the rules we have are things [such] as no flipping over the pads, however you can flip in one square,” said Sky Zone Co-Owner Luke Phillips.
Most trampoline parks have designed trampolines with lots of padding to make them safer and separate kids based on size. Researchers from Indiana found the majority of injuries happen on home trampolines and suggest they be banned.
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