An earlier Rhode Island Hospital study looking at data from 2001 and 2002 indicated an average of 75,000 children per year were seen in emergency departments across the country.
The new, more comprehensive study, which examined emergency department visits from 2000 through 2005, shows even higher rates - 531,378 trampoline-related injuries over the study period, an average of 88,563 each year. Further, 95 percent of those injuries occurred on home trampolines.
The study compared statistics from 2000 through 2005 to a study from 1990 through 1995, when there was a total of 41,600 emergency room visits annually. The study, which was presented at the recent American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting, shows a progressive increase each year in injuries, causing even greater concern among researchers.
"Our first study on this subject gave us reason for concern, and the need to send a warning to parents. Clearly this new study indicates even higher rates of injury than first thought," said James Linakis, PhD, MD, a pediatric emergency physician at Hasbro Children's Hospital.
There were 1.2 million new trampoline sales in 2004, indicating that parents continue to purchase this as a form of fun and exercise for children. We urge parents not to purchase this equipment for their children based upon the dangers they pose and the injuries that have been documented."
The most common injuries were soft tissue (256,509), while fractures and dislocations were the next (168,402). The age group with the most injuries was those in the 5-12 year range. The vast majority of the injuries were to the extremities, representing 71 percent of all injuries.
Michael Mello, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine physician and director of the Injury Prevention Center at Rhode Island Hospital, who worked with Linakis on the study said, "Physicians strongly encourage physical activity in children, and while trampolines appear to be a fun activity that satisfies the need for physical activity, this study indicates that they pose too great a threat to be used in an unsupervised environment like a backyard."
Founded in 1863, Rhode Island Hospital (www.rhodeislandhospital.org) is a private, not-for-profit hospital and is the largest teaching hospital of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.