AURORA, Colo., (CBS4) – Trampoline parks are an easy, affordable way to entertain your kids and burn off some energy, but a new study done by doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado found trampoline-related injuries are increasingly happening at trampoline parks, rather than trampolines at home.
Chelsea Carlton considers her daughter’s, Nell, experience a cautionary tale. Months after the 3 year old’s first trip to a nearby trampoline park, Nell is still fixated on her painful experience.
“She still talks about that. She talks about her cast and her bone,” Carlton said.
According to Carlton, Nell had a blast at first. The couple took several pictures and videos of her bouncing around, but wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
“We were just watching her bouncing and she was giggling and all of a sudden she just kind of crumpled,” Carlton said.
At first, Carlton thought Nell would be fine. Hours later, the toddler was still in visible pain so the couple made a call to Children’s Hospital Colorado, where doctors said any major injury would have swelling.
“I woke up around one and when I looked over her, I could see the swelling from even under the blanket. I could see the shape of her leg,” Carlton said.
After that, the couple immediately rushed Nell to the hospital, where they learned she broke her femur.
Dr. Gaia Georgopoulos, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital, performed surgery hours later, putting two plates and six pins in Nell’s leg.
For about four weeks, the toddler wore a cast that went from her ankle to her ribs.
“It doesn’t take a lot of force,” Georgopoulos said. “Just the impact of them coming down and the tramp coming up is enough to break their bones.”
Georgopoulos is also co-author of a new study that looked into a nearly 4% rise in trampoline-related injuries over the last decade.
The group of doctors eventually found the increase could be related to increased popularity in trampoline-related entertainment or exercise businesses.
The study found, by 2017, trampoline injuries caused 6.16% of all broken bones in children. On top of that, researchers found children are 32% more likely to get injured at a trampoline park than a trampoline at home.
“They are fun and they can be good exercise,” said Georgopoulos. “What I would suggest though is that kids under the age of five probably just not jump on the trampoline because of the quality of their bones.”
Carlton said knowing that before the November visit to a trampoline park would have prevented a painful few weeks for Nell and a lifetime of parental guilt.
“A lot of people tell me that she is so young that she’s not really going to remember this, and I really hope that’s true, but it’s definitely changed the way I parent and I don’t think necessarily for the better,” Carlton said.
CBS4 reached out to several trampoline-related businesses to ask about safety procedures and their response to this study. None of the businesses have responded to our requests.