When mom-of-two Kait Ellen took her family to an indoor trampoline park last month, she had no idea that the afternoon of fun would result in a trip to the emergency department with her youngest son Colton.
And now the mom of two wants to warn other parents about the dangers of trampolines, especially indoor trampoline parks that advertise safe spaces and play times for toddlers.
“As hard as it is to relive the past 12 days, we feel compelled to make other parents aware of the danger associated with indoor trampoline parks,” Ellen wrote on Facebook. “Colton fell and broke his femur, the strongest bone in his body, while innocently jumping alongside his dad and I.”
According to Ellen, Colton was put in a hip spica cast, which he must stay in for the next six weeks.
But what surprised Ellen, she says, was what Colton’s physician told her during their hospital visit: children under the age of six should never use a trampoline.
“This is due to the fact that their fragile bones are not meant to withstand the repetitive jumping,” she said. “We had no idea and were shocked to find this out from our pediatric orthopedic surgeon during Colton’s hospital stay.”
Now she wants to make other parents of toddlers aware of the dangers.
“We share this with you today to spread awareness that these facilities are specifically advertising for Toddler Time, when in fact toddlers should be nowhere near trampolines,” Ellen wrote. “We hope by sharing his story it will prevent a child and their family from experiencing the trauma and heartbreak associated with trampoline injuries in young children.”
The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) released a joint position statement with the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine back in 2007 discouraging the use of trampolines among children.
“Trampolining is a high-risk activity with the potential for significant injury, especially in children and youth,” the statement reads. “Multiple authors and organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Safe Kids Canada, have called for the elimination of trampolines in the home environment as recreational play equipment or for an outright ban on trampolines under any circumstances for the paediatric age group.”
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s latest statistics, there were 4,247 reported cases of trampoline injuries treated in emergency rooms across 15 hospitals between 2005-2006 and 2009-2010.
While the prevalence of injuries continue to rise, what is also concerning to the CPS is the severity of such injuries, with fractures being the most commonly cited trampoline injury in Canada.
The majority of injuries occur in children between five and 14 years of age, with the average being between seven and 10.
While serious injuries are rare, there have been reports over the years of ligament tears in the knee, popliteal artery thrombosis, nerve injuries to the fingers and injuries to the cervical spine (neck), which are the most concerning because of the potential for significant long-term morbidity, the CPS says.
Broken bones in children are very different from adults, the AAP and Healthy Children state. Younger bones are more flexible than adult bones, and also have a thicker covering which makes it better for younger bones to absorb shock. They also tend to heal rapidly and well.