The Dangers of Trampoline Parks

One of the latest fads sweeping the nation may also be one of the most dangerous—trampoline parks. Safety officials say there are now hundreds of parks across the country, and that there are no federal standards or regulations governing any of them. The risk is more than one of serious injury, though.

The parks, mostly indoors, usually have banks of trampolines side-by-side and often offer users no supervision, little instruction and little or no safety equipment. Safety advocates say the concept is not new—there have been trampoline parks for more than 50 years. But the growth in the last five years has been almost exponential, from just a handful in 2009 to nearly 350 in 2014.

The Risk of Injury on a Trampoline

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, almost 100,000 trampoline-related injuries are reported every year. In the first decade of this century, 22 people died as a result of trampoline accidents. All kinds of accidents have occurred:

  • The most serious typically involve trampoliners diving into a foam pit. Many such parks have “pits” full of foam that users can vault into from a spring off the trampoline. However, the foam can become displaced, causing users to land on hard surfaces, breaking a leg or severing a spine
  • Many users have been hurt when colliding with others on the same or an adjoining trampoline
  • A large number of injuries have occurred when an inexperienced trampoliner lands off-balance and suffers something akin to whiplash

To date, only two states—Michigan and Arizona—have laws regulating trampoline parks. A trampoline safety advocacy group, Think Before You Bounce, has been lobbying state and federal legislators for more regulation of the burgeoning industry.

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