Trampolines and Tragedy: Liability When Bouncing Fun Leads to Injury
San Jose Attorney for Trampoline Accident Injuries
In a nation concerned with childhood obesity, it may seem surprising that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) would issue a caution on the use of a popular and fun form of exercise for children. Yet, this knowledgeable body of childrens health has done just that.
The physicians group warns parents against allowing their children to use trampolines for exercise and as backyard toys. The group also strongly advises against allowing children under the age of six on these exercise devices for any reason. The warning was issued based on data connecting use of trampolines to various injuries, paralysis and, in some cases, death.
Unfortunately, the number of injuries associated with trampolines is on the rise. This increase is thought to be associated with the recent inclusion of trampolining as an Olympic event. Trampoline sales skyrocketed, and so did catastrophic injuries.
The issue of injuries associated with trampolines has become so prevalent that even insurance companies are taking notice; some companies cancel homeowner policies when customers purchase them.
Parents are advised by insurance professionals to make sure that their policy covers liability if they own a trampoline and if their child or a visitor is injured. Parents are also encouraged to make sure they have adequate medical insurance to cover injuries their child may sustain if they allow their children to use a friends trampoline since the trampoline owner may not be sufficiently covered.
Risk of Injury
Medical professionals are not alone in voicing concerns over the use of trampolines. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has also issued a safety alert. The alert is supported by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) finding that over 75 percent of victims injured on trampolines are under the age of 15.
In addition, the CPSC estimates that over 92,000 emergency room trips were connected to trampoline use in 2010 alone. As a result, the CPSC recommends the following steps be taken to avoid injury when using a trampoline:
- Always carefully supervise children using a trampoline
- Only allow one person on a trampoline at a time
- Do not allow somersaults or flips since landing on the head or neck can lead to paralysis
- Only use trampolines with shock-absorbing padding that completely covers springs, hooks and frames
Although these precautions can help reduce the risks associated with trampoline use, many factors can lead to injuries. Bruises, sprains and fractures can be caused from landing improperly, falling or jumping off the trampoline or falling on the frame or springs of a trampoline. If more than one person is using the trampoline at a time, they may collide, which is the number one trampoline injury seen in emergency rooms.
When injuries occur, the AAP study found 40 percent of victims suffered strains and sprains and 30 percent received fractures often leading to hospitalization and surgery. An additional 13 percent of victims suffered lacerations and 11 percent were categorized as other, which includes serious spinal cord and brain injuries.
Most reported injuries occur on private, backyard trampolines but injuries also result from those using trampolines in the commercial gym setting. Catastrophic cervical spine injuries are rare, according to the AAP, but head and neck injuries constitute a notable number of serious injuries leading to hospitalization.
The majority of head injuries are concussions. These injuries often require medical treatment and can affect the victims ability to complete everyday tasks. Symptoms can include a loss of consciousness, confusion, headache, nausea, blurred vision, mood changes and drowsiness. Complications connected to this injury can include coma, seizures, nerve damage and even death.
Victims of concussions, or traumatic brain injuries, can experience cognitive and communication problems throughout their lives. These individuals may find it difficult to learn, problem solve and focus in the future. According to Mayo Clinic, victims of traumatic brain injuries are also more likely to experience depression as well as degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons in the future.
Covering the cost of caring for traumatic brain injuries and other wounds caused while using a trampoline can be expensive. Victims may be able to receive compensation to cover these and related costs by holding negligent parties liable. If a parent with a backyard trampoline or supervisor in a commercial gym setting was not properly supervising children using these dangerous toys, they may be responsible for any resulting injuries.
Although steps can be taken to reduce the risk of injury associated with trampoline use, experts continue to advise parents against allowing their children to use these toys - particularly in an unsupervised or poorly supervised setting.
Every situation is unique. If you or a loved one are injured while using a trampoline, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss potential legal remedies.