Between 2008 and 2017, trampoline injuries increased by nearly 4% each year. The odds of getting an injury at a trampoline park, however, increased by more than 30%.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against letting kids use a trampoline. If kids use trampolines, the AAP would rather see them on a trampoline at school, where there is likely to be more supervision and more careful avoidance of risks.
What about trampoline parks?
There are more than 800 trampoline parks in the U.S. now, and there are currently two in Northwest Arkansas. A decade ago, there were only a few dozen trampoline parks in the nation.
Trampoline parks are typically indoor spaces with trampoline floors and walls. Only one trampoline park injury was reported to the NEISS database of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission before 2011. Before 2014, most trampoline injuries took place at home. In 2014, 11% of trampoline injuries took place at trampoline parks. Since then, the proportion of injuries in parks has increased significantly.
It makes sense that trampoline park injuries would increase as more trampoline parks become available. That doesn’t mean that trampoline parks are more dangerous than home trampolines. But one study found that trampoline park injuries tended to be more severe than home injuries.
There are two major organizations that certify trampoline parks for safety: IATP and ASTM. You can look for their certifications when you choose a park. However, Arkansas has no specific safety regulations for trampoline parks (only two states do), and a lack of certification doesn’t mean a park is unsafe.
Every trampoline park has safety rules. For example, click through to read the safety rules for Altitude in Fayetteville. Your kids might be too excited to pay much attention to the rules when they arrive at the park, especially if they’re with friends. Go over the rules at home first, when they’re in a calmer situation.
Dress safely for the trampoline park. Phones in pockets, jewelry, clothing with sharp or heavy decorations — these can all be dangerous for jumpers.
Sharing a trampoline surface is more dangerous for kids than jumping alone. Smaller kids jumping in the same space as an adult or a bigger child are more likely to lose their balance and fall. Contact with other jumpers can lead to injury.
Falls on springs or other hard surfaces are more likely to lead to fractures than falls on the trampoline surfaces. Point this out to older kids and encourage them to stay away from the hard surfaces. Kids are more likely to fall off of a home trampoline than a trampoline park surface. Still, jumpers should stay aware of their surroundings and keep to the trampoline surfaces.
Avoid somersaults and flips. Some trampoline parks forbid these moves and others don’t, but they are more likely to lead to injuries than less fancy jumping.
New sports like trampoline park baseball sound fun, but they lead to injuries more often than other activities.