Backyard trampolines have provided fun and exercise for children for decades. Unfortunately, trampolines also pose a risk for traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and the possibility for sprains, dislocations and fractures. These commonly occur from falling off the trampoline, landing incorrectly on the frame or springs of the trampoline, or colliding with another trampoline user.
There are ways to minimize the risk of injury. Children under 6 years old should not use a full-size trampoline, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has warned against any trampoline use in a home setting for all children, regardless of safety measures.
Still, many parents want their children to enjoy the outdoors and exercise provided by a trampoline. The following rules can help children safely use a trampoline:
- Only one child should be allowed on the trampoline at one time
- Use a safety enclosure around a trampoline to eliminate the risk of falling off the trampoline
- Do not place the trampoline near trees or other play areas
- Do not use a ladder with the trampoline, as it encourages young children to climb up
- Always supervise children using a trampoline
According to a recent report from ABC news, 3 million trampolines exist in home backyards. Approximately 100,000 people, including children, are injured each year from trampolines, with 20 percent of those suffering spinal cord injuries.
If a homeowner with a trampoline is negligent, such as by inviting children to the house and not supervising trampoline use, he or she may be liable for resulting damages.
Even if the injured child is not invited, the legal doctrine of “attractive nuisance” may apply to common recreational items such as swimming pools and trampolines. If the owner of a trampoline can foresee that a child would be tempted to trespass to use the recreational item, and the child cannot understand the danger in using it, the owner could be liable for injuries that occur from an accident. An owner can protect himself or herself by taking reasonable steps to make the property safe from children, such as by having adequate fencing or a trampoline net.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The potential severity of trampoline injuries should make any trampoline owner aware of proper safety tips. While fractures and sprains are easy to spot and treat, it can be difficult to spot a brain injury or to know how long-lasting the symptoms will be. A child with the following symptoms should immediately see a medical professional:
- Severe headache
- Weakness or numbness
Summer is a time when children are out in neighborhoods in force. Proper supervision and care can make it a fun-filled time filled with lasting memories. If, however, your child has been injured in an accident, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options regarding compensation.