An orthopaedic surgeon has warned children should use trampolines only under professional supervision amid concerns of a spike in broken bones and injuries this Christmas.
Amir Ali Qureshi, a consultant knee and limb reconstruction surgeon at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said despite netting now being a common part of most trampolines, serious injuries were still commonplace.
He spoke out following the popularity this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, which features a dog bouncing on a trampoline and led to a 300% increase in online searches for the equipment on the evening of its release on 10 November.
“I have come across multiple serious injuries during my career so far among adults and children as a result of trampoline use, including broken arms, legs and elbows as well as severe neck injuries and knee dislocations, despite the use of nets as a preventative measure,” he said. “Just last week I had a 27-year-old female referred to me with a life-changing injury to her left knee as a result of a trampoline accident.
“Some of these injuries are simply unpleasant, but others can be extremely serious. The issue at the moment, particularly where young people are involved, is that the use of nets gives children and their parents a false sense of security that they will be fine whatever the level and intensity of activity on a trampoline.
“In my opinion, as an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, the equipment is dangerous and should only be used in appropriate circumstances, which I believe can only be achieved under professional supervision.”
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, more than 13,000 trampolining injuries are treated in emergency departments across England every year, with almost three quarters occurring in the home environment.
“The number of emergency attendances as a result of trampoline accidents is already quite significant and the data shows a large proportion of the injuries sustained occur at home,” Mr Qureshi explained.
“It is clear, as a result of recent TV exposure, trampolines will be high on the present list this Christmas for many children and families and the concern is, without proper care and attention, hospitals could see a festive influx of trampoline-related injuries.”
While Mr Qureshi’s preference would be for children to enjoy the use of such equipment under professional supervision, he admitted he was realistic about the reality of the situation and offered some immediate guidance.
“Injuries are an unfortunate but normal part of play and children should absolutely be encouraged to play outdoors. As a healthcare professional I have a preference as to what I would like to see in terms of safety, but there is a balance to be struck and families will continue to buy and use trampolines,” he said.
“Therefore, it’s important, even with netting, parents supervise their children at all times and monitor playtime – particular when older and bigger children are around.
“While young children have more flexibility in their bones and absorb shock well, I would suggest parents supervise them on equipment such as bouncy castles and trampolines and not allow a mix of ages at the same time due to the weight difference.
“Tricks such as somersaults should definitely be undertaken only under the direct guidance of a professional, while adults should avoid the use of trampolines when under the influence of alcohol.”
Posted on Friday 16 December 2016