Medical experts are urging parents to keep an eye on their children as the number of nasty head injuries and broken bones caused by trampolines is on the rise.
Experts say trampolines are a popular Christmas gift for children, but could be dangerous if they were not used properly.
Statistics by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed about eight kids are hospitalised each day by trampoline injuries in Australia.
Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) director of trauma Warwick Teague said the hospital was admitting children with serious injuries caused by trampolines that no family or child should ever be subjected to.
“Trampolines are perfectly safe if used appropriately, but can be very dangerous without proper supervision and when multiple children are bouncing on them at once,” Dr Teague said.
Senior doctors at the hospital were so concerned by the incidents they started a research project, in conjunction with Melbourne University, in September to study the injuries to help form injury prevention advice.
Dr Teague said the project would examine cases from home trampolines as well as trampoline play centres to see if they were contributing to the increase in severe trampoline injuries.
He said the anecdotal evidence suggested many children were being injured when multiple kids were jumping on a trampoline at the same time.
“If you have multiple users on the trampoline, I would liken it to cage fighting,” Dr Teague said.
A decade ago, the hospital would admit about 30 children a year with serious trampoline injuries.
Last year that figure jumped to about 85 trampoline-related admissions, and Dr Teague said this year the hospital was on track to receive about 90.
Earlier in 2015, Sydney Children’s Hospital at Randwick issued a warning about a significant rise in the number of children admitted with preventable trampoline-related injuries following the opening of several indoor trampoline centres.
Parents warn others after ‘stupid negligence’
In August, six-year-old Melbourne boy Edgar became one of the RCH’s latest patients after he fell out of a trampoline with an unzipped safety net.
His mother Kim said he toppled out headfirst onto bluestone bricks with nothing to break his fall.
“I heard a wail that went straight to my marrow and I knew there had been an accident,” she said.
After watching her son for several hours, she put him to bed.
“I thought we were out of the woods but he vomited shortly afterwards and started vomiting quite intensively two hours later,” she said.
Edgar was taken to the RCH, where Kim said the doctors were concerned Edgar had fractured his skull and might have internal bleeding.
A CAT scan came back clear but revealed Edgar had suffered a brain trauma.
“This was not caused by the head hitting the pavement but by the brain hitting the skull,” Kim said.
Edgar is now being monitored by the Concussion Clinic at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute that is examining the long-term repercussions of concussion in children.
Three weeks later, the six-year-old remains a little uncoordinated, occasionally muddled in his thinking and has not passed several balance tests.
But he is back at school and Kim said she felt “incredibly fortunate that this stupid accident, entirely a result of our parental negligence, didn’t result in anything worse”.
“It’s only after this sort of thing happens that one hears everyone else’s horror stories and as we have had up to five children on our trampoline, a risk we would never have considered on the old spring type I grew up on in the 1970s.”
– with ABC