Trampoline Gyms Pose Serious Health and Safety Risks
Indoor “trampoline gyms” have popped up across Colorado and the United States in recent years in response to a new popularity for the bouncy activity. However, many localities are discovering that trampoline gyms pose serious health and safety risks – and the Denver personal injury law firm of Levine Law is tracking any potential dangers.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in 2009, about 98,000 children between the ages of 0 and 14 were injured while on a trampoline. Their research found that trampolines increase the risk of a number of serious injuries, including shin and chest fractures, broken ankles, and serious head, neck, and spinal cord injuries. Some of these injuries can cause permanent disabilities or even death.
Moving trampolines indoors and charging visitors to use them doesn’t eliminate or reduce the risks, researchers have found. In fact, some risks are heightened. Some trampoline gyms, for instance, offer pits full of foam blocks for jumpers to leap into. If a person jumps in the wrong way, however, the foam blocks may fail to cushion their fall – increasing their risk of suffering serious injuries when they hit the floor instead of the foam.
Not only is the risk of possible injury high, say some researchers, but the injuries that do occur are more severe than those suffered in other types of sports. One researcher at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center compared the “severe, open wounds” suffered by indoor trampoline gym users to those suffered by war veterans or motor vehicle crash victims. Dislocated feet, brain hemorrhaging, and paralysis are among the severe injuries treated at the medical center after trampoline gym accidents.
Trampoline gyms across the country have argued that the risks are overblown. They say that the risk of injury is actually lower than in several organized sports, and they argue that trampoline gyms help people get exercise when the weather outdoors is too bad for sports or play. Some gyms actually post staff to watch trampoline users and enforce safety rules, in much the same way that lifeguards watch swimmers in public pools.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families avoid trampoline use entirely. For those who still wish to jump, however, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following tips:
- Always supervise children who are using a trampoline.
- Allow only one person on the trampoline at a time.
- Do not allow somersaults, flips, or other acrobatic moves on a home trampoline.
- Do not use a trampoline that is positioned near structures and other play areas. Trampolines with net enclosures may help prevent a person from falling off the trampoline.
- Use a trampoline only if it has padding that completely covers the springs, hooks, and frame of the trampoline.
- If the trampoline is in a home or backyard, do not attach a ladder, since small children may use it to get onto the trampoline and suffer injuries. Put the trampoline in a completely enclosed space, such as a fenced-in yard, and ensure gates are locked.
Denver personal injury law firms like Levine Law have watched this growing fad closely, concerned about the risks it poses for our clients and neighbors. If you’re injured in a trampoline gym or during a similar sport, talk to us about protecting your legal rights.