Trampoliners all over our nation are in jeopardy! Any random jump can result in an injury. No one can know in advance if they can trampoline without causing harm. The AAP referred to trampoline injuries as a “national crisis!” Indeed, a generation of children are at risk.
Yet probably 95% of the time kids have a pleasant and safe experience on a trampoline. Why then are a small % of kids get hurt on a trampoline while other kids, jumping on the very same trampoline, are fine? Something must be wrong the kids who get injured, right? It could not be the fault of the trampoline!
My friend Heidi Roger argues these injuries must be result if an underlying genetic predisposition. I say that Heidi makes a lot of sense. If 95% of kids who trampoline do so without incident, environmental factors can only play a minuscule role in this epidemic of trampoline related injuries.
Heidi recommends that we immediately research the genetic backgrounds of all injured children. Do these children have parents or siblings who have been trampoline injured? Has the child always been a poor trampoliner? Did the parent miss the signs? Even though a child has trampolined safely for years, a sudden and severe accident must be the result of an unknown, but certainly latent, genetic condition. Is there a secret history of bad bouncers in the family?
We must also study the DNA of unaffected siblings. Are uninjured siblings unaffected because they were no longer allowed to bounce or because they have less of a genetic vulnerability to bouncing related injuries?
Did the mothers of injured trampoliners take illegal drugs or prescription drugs while pregnant? Did mothers have infections during pregnancy that could have affected her yet unborn child’s sense of balance? Do multiples suffer the same rate of bouncing injuries as singleton trampoliners?
Obviously this is work for the genome researchers! The NIH must fund a study of all genes remotely related to coordinated bouncing. It is unlikely there will be just one gene for bouncing. This research will take dozens of years and hundreds of millions of dollars. Hopefully, in time, we will discover the genetic pathways into bouncing coordination and that will allow us to develop pharmaceuticals in order treat this condition.
Trampolining accidents are a mystery we need time to unravel.
Yes, Heidi and I are kidding. We know that trampoline accidents are real and can be very serious. I have been hurt on a trampoline and so has my younger son, but in this case at least, it was own dumb fault for buying a trampoline in the first place. Is there anyone in this country who is not aware trampolines are potentially dangerous? I knew the risk and chose, stupidly, to buy a trampoline anyway.
No one told me that my kids would not be allowed to attend school if I did not buy a trampoline. No camp refused to enroll my son unless he was allowed to be a trampoliner. Most importantly, no doctor or health authority promised me that trampolines were “100% safe.” Quite the opposite, the medical community has always been upfront about the dangers of trampolines and the importance of parents making informed decisions.
Sounds pretty reasonable right?
I agree 100% w/ AAP recommendations that small children should never be allowed on tramps and that older children be supervised at all times. If reasonable safety precautions are not taken serious injuries and tragedies can and do result. The AAP is right; parents need to take the responsibility or owning a trampoline very seriously. The AAP also recommends that manufactures make a safer product!
I really like how the AAP laid out their argument against children on trampolines.
1) Trampolines have never been rigorously studied for children’s’ safety.
2) Trampoline accidents can result in permanent injuries, sometimes even death.
3) Kids are not substitute adults!
4) Children’s’ brains are much more vulnerable to long term and severe injuries.
5) And my favorite: One Size Does Not Fit All When It Comes to Children and Safety!
However, the eagerness of the AAP to use the word “epidemic” in describing trampolining injuries is curious. Over and over and over again the AAP, the NIH and the CDC have refused to label autism “an epidemic” because, as their reasoning goes, only infectious diseases can be considered an epidemic. Hmmmmm…How does one “catch” trampolining? How does a person suddenly find themselves on a trampoline against their will? How can one be unaware they are in contact with or bouncing on a trampoline?
I’m not a doctor but trampolining doesn’t sound like an infectious disease to me. The AAP does not dispute the fact that autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the USA. The AAP does not dispute the fact that an astonishing 1 in 100 children are on the autism spectrum. The AAP does not dispute the fact that autistic children often suffer from lifelong devastating medical disorders.
So…..How can this inconsistency be explained? I wonder?
Katie Wright is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.