Objective: To describe the epidemiological features of trampoline-related injuries among children treated in an urban pediatric emergency department.
Design: A descriptive study of a consecutive series of patients.
Setting: The emergency department of a large, urban, academic children's hospital.
Participants: Children treated for trampoline-related injuries from May 1, 1995, through April 30, 1997.
Results: Two hundred fourteen children were treated for trampoline-related injuries during the study period, representing, on average, 1 child treated approximately every 3 days. Children ranged in age from 1 to 16 years (mean [SD], 9.4 [3.6] years). The area of the body most commonly injured was a lower extremity (36.0%), followed by an upper extremity (31.8%), the head (14.5%), the trunk (9.8%), and the neck (7.9%). The most common type of injury was a soft tissue injury (51.9%), followed by fracture (34.6%) and laceration (11.7%). Several patterns of trampoline-related injury were identified. Extremity fractures were more common in the upper extremities (P=.006; relative risk [RR]=1.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16-2.31); however, soft tissue injuries were more common in the lower extremities (P=.006; RR=1.66; 95% CI, 1.16-2.38). Lacerations were associated with injury to the head region (P<.001; RR=67.9; 95% CI, 16.8-273.6) and were more common among children younger than 6 years (P=.02; RR=2.58; 95% CI, 1.24-5.34). Soft tissue injuries were more common among children 6 years of age and older (P=.01; RR=1.66; 95% CI, 1.08-2.55). Four patients (1.9%) with fractures were admitted to the hospital. The trampoline was located in the backyard in 96% (119/124) of cases. Adult supervision was present at the time of injury for 55.6% (65/117) of children, including 73.3% (22/30) of children younger than 6 years. Parents reported that they had been aware of the potential dangers of trampolines before the injury event (73% [81/111]), that their child had previously attempted a flip on a trampoline (56.9% [66/116]), that this was not the child's first injury on a trampoline (10% [12/120]), and that their child continued to use a trampoline after the current injury event (54.8% [63/115]).
Conclusions: Trampoline-related injuries to children treated in the emergency department are almost exclusively associated with the use of backyard trampolines. The prevention strategies of warning labels, public education, and adult supervision are inadequate to prevent these injuries. Children should not use backyard trampolines, and the sale of trampolines for private recreational use should be halted.