Introduction: The recreational use of trampolines has increased dramatically during the last 10 years. There has been a striking increase in the number of children presenting to fracture clinics with injuries associated with trampoline use. This increase in trampoline injuries has been reported in North America, but there has been a paucity of research in this area in Europe.
Methods: We prospectively recorded details of patients presenting to our institution, Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin (Dublin, Ireland), during the busy summer months of June, July, and August 2005. Details recorded included type and mechanism of injury, the mode of referral, treatment, inpatient days, outpatient visits, specific details relating to trampoline safety, and an analysis of the cost of medical care.
Results: There were 101 patients treated for trampoline-related injuries in 3 months from June to August 2005. This represented 1.5% of the total attendances to the emergency department. The average age was 8.5 years (range, 1.4-17.4 years). There were 55 fractures, 38 soft tissue injuries, 5 head injuries, and 5 neck injuries, with an average Pediatric Trauma Score of 11.4. Fifty seven percent (58/101) of patients were on the trampoline with at least 1 other person. Twenty patients (19.8%) were admitted to hospital requiring 71 inpatient days. Twelve patients were treated in theatre. There were 163 fracture clinic visits, 212 x-rays, and 2 magnetic resonance imaging scans.
Conclusions: Trampolines are a high-risk activity with the potential for significant orthopaedic injury. In Ireland, we have recently seen a dramatic increase in pediatric trampoline-related injuries mirroring the trend in the United States during the last 10 to 15 years. We found that more than 1 individual on a trampoline is a major risk factor for injury, where the lightest person is 14 times more likely to be injured than the heavier. The lighter person also has a greater chance of being injured with smaller numbers on the trampoline. We reiterate the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement advice that trampolines be used only in supervised training programs--never at home, in outdoor playgrounds, or in schools. The public should be made aware of the potential dangers of trampolines through public health campaigns, radio, and television.