Think before you bounce: Dangers of Indoor Trampoline Parks

How quickly has the year flown by, the end of school term is round the corner and school holidays are upon us already! Many families have already booked into school holiday activities, while others will be getting on the plane to head off for a getaway from the hassle and bustle of work to relax with the family. So I thought this would be a timely moment to discuss one activity that has been growing in popularity – Indoor Trampoline Parks. For those of you who have not yet been introduced to Indoor Trampoline Parks through birthday party invites, these are indoor facilities that have trampolines lined throughout the floor space and along the side of the walls.

As a Physiotherapist, I have seen a rise in injuries as a result of bouncing at indoor trampoline parks. These injuries have included fractures of the arm and legs, as well as ankle and wrist sprains. A quick search through Google will bring up many reports internationally of serious injuries that have occurred while bouncing in trampoline parks including cases of death from spinal fractures.  Injuries have resulted from collisions between participants, being hit by bouncing balls, diving into trampolines filled with foam cubes, and while executing failed flips maneuvers.

There are rules for bouncing inside Trampoline parks to reduce the risk of injuries, and these are indicated clearly on their website. Rules include: No double bouncing, No double flips, No nonsense, No climbing on the trampoline walls, No more than two flips in a row, No tackling or pushing, No drugs and alcohol, Stay in the center of the trampoline, Do not lie or sit on the court.  Trampoline parks also indicate that they have daily safety checks to ensure that the trampolines are maintained and follow industry regulations. However, parents need to also know that there are warnings on the websites to indicate that participation in trampoline activities is an inherently dangerous recreational activity and involves a level of risk that each participant must evaluate on their own. By using the facility, you are assuming a risk of serious injury or death. WARNING!!! Catastrophic injury, paralysis or even death may result from failing to follow the rules below and due to inherent risks, sometimes even if all rules are followed.  So the onus is placed back on participants to look after themselves and in an event of accidents, it is a risk that the participant has knowingly accepted by coming to the venue. As a parent, is that a risk you would take?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that Pediatricians should advise parents and children against recreational trampoline use.  Kidsafe NSW advises that trampolines are not recommended for children under 6 years of age. As a Paediatric physiotherapist, I often use a mini trampoline with children during therapy sessions; however, in such situations, trampolines are used for therapeutic purposes with specific activities and with one-to-one assistance. I always advise families to provide one-to-one assistance when they are carrying out therapeutic trampoline exercises at home, and these are different from the free-reined recreational bouncing children may do while at home in their own backyard trampolines.  Kidsafe NSW has produced a great guideline on trampoline safety and I strongly recommend that parents have a look at the guidelines:

We all understand that accidents can happen, and some activities in life are more risky than others. Children often do not understand the inherent risks involved with activities, so when they get a birthday party invite to exciting venues like an indoor trampoline park, as parents we often feel pressured to attend the parties. I would advise against participating in Indoor Trampoline Parks, because the scale of trampolines and numbers of persons jumping at the same time in the area is larger, and therefore the risks of injuries and severity of injuries is significantly higher compared to using your own backyard trampoline.

If you have any questions regarding the content above, or if you have a child who may have recently suffered an injury while bouncing on a trampoline, contact us on 02 9790 4233 to speak to our Paediatric Physiotherapist today.