Kids and trampolines just go together, right?
Not so fast, warns Kait Ellen, mother of 3-year-old Colton, who shattered his femur at a trampoline park. (The femur is the biggest, toughest bone in humans, BTW — let that sink in!)
Her son's pediatric orthopedic surgeon told her that no child under the age of 6 should use a trampoline, due to the fragility of growing bones.
"Their fragile bones are not meant to withstand the repetitive pressure from jumping," Ellen wrote in a heartbreaking Facebook post from July 7 that is now being shared widely.
Honestly, we were shocked at the stats. Emergency room visits for trampoline park injuries hit 6,932 in 2014 (up from only 581 in 2010) according to a study in Pediatrics released just last year.
Many families (including ours!) think nothing of heading to one of the popular bounce spots as a way to spend a summer day — but few are considering the risks: sprains, bone breaks, concussions and spinal cord injuries.
Damage to the head or neck can potentially lead to permanent paralysis or even death according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
And that trampoline in the backyard is no better according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which cautions parents to keep all children under 6 off the apparatus. The AAP takes an even harder stance — the organization is opposed to trampoline time altogether, stating that the risk of collisions, dangerous landings and bad falls is just too great.
But what about that expensive padding and netting, for protection? We're sorry to say that a rep for AAP, pediatrician Michele LaBotz shot that down.
"Families need to know that many injuries occur on the mat itself," LaBotz said in 2012. "Current data do not appear to demonstrate that netting or padding significantly decrease the risk of injury."
Kait Ellen was horrified by her son's injury and had assumed, like many parents, that trampoline parks are a great way for kids to get out that pent-up energy.
"Our lives have been turned upside down since Colton's accident and every day is a struggle for his sweet 3-year-old self as he adjusts to life in a hip spica cast for the next six weeks," Ellen wrote. "We share this with you today to spread awareness that these facilities are specifically advertising for Toddler Time, when in fact toddlers should be no where near trampolines."
We weren't surprised that her post has been shared over 253,000 times, but we had no clue just how dangerous trampolines could be for kids. So be careful out there this summer... and consider keeping the whole family grounded.