Mum’s warning over dangers of trampoline centres
THEY'RE a popular choice for kids' birthday parties and keeping energetic kids occupied during school holidays, but a mum in the US has issued a heartbreaking warning to other parents who visit indoor trampoline centres with their children.
In a Facebook post that has now gone viral, mum Kait Ellen posted a heartbreaking picture of her three-year-old son Colton lying in a hospital bed, squirming in pain.
During what was meant to be a fun few hours for her boy and the family at a local trampoline centre, Kidspot reports that Ellen's son Colton suffered an horrific fall and broke his femur, the largest and strongest bone in the human body, which has now resulted in a hip spica cast.
After being told by a paediatric orthopedic surgeon that no child under the age of six should really ever use a trampoline because their bones are too fragile to withstand repetitive pressure from jumping, Ellen decided to make her news public in a bid to warn others.
"As hard as it is to relive the past 12 days, we feel compelled to make other parents aware of the danger associated with indoor trampoline parks. Colton fell and broke his femur, the strongest bone in his body, while innocently jumping alongside his dad and I," Ellen said in her post.
"Our lives have been turned upside down since Colton's accident and every day is a struggle for his sweet 3 year old self as he adjusts to life in a hip spica cast for the next 6 weeks."
With over 200,00 shares and 39,000 comments, Ellen's warning has gone viral with many parents tagging each other and even sharing their own horror stories involving their own children and similar injuries from the same kinds of centres.
According to Dr Christopher Mulligan, Orthopaedic Surgery Registrar from Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick, there has been a rise in hospital admissions relating to trampoline accidents, and that is mainly thanks to the growing popularity of the centres in Australia.
"In 2014, with the opening of a trampoline park in the local area, we observed a spike in the numbers of children presenting to the emergency department of Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick with injuries from trampolining," Dr Mulligan told Kidspot.
While there have been many stories doing the rounds, centres in Australia are familiar with common injuries and insist they always put their visitors' safety first.
According to Chelsea Mannix, part of the risk management team at popular trampoline centre, Sky Zone, the centres in the USA are a little different to those in Australia. For starters, there is no minimum age for children to participate in a jump.
"There is no exact age limit. Our basic advice is if you can walk, you can jump," Chelsea told Kidspot. "There is a minimum age in certain areas where you have to demonstrate a certain skill set, but no research has been done in Australia that has informed us of a minimum age to be able to jump on a trampoline."
Chelsea said Australian parents should feel safe when they visit a centre.
"We have a bunch of centres here who follow the code of practice in Australia and all members need to comply. They're audited annually and they need to ensure things like: one person per 20 jumpers is supervising, no more than one person jumping per trampoline, and also the lengths and depths of the foam pit," Chelsea said.
While Chelsea advices parents to follow the guidelines of the centre, she also stressed to look out for centres who are members of the Australian Trampoline Park Association to make sure they're at a centre that complies with the standards.
Despite the fact that there is no real minimum age, Dr Mulligan said we shouldn't be too worried if we follow the guidelines and centres we visit are taking the right safety measures.
"Younger children are not specifically at higher risk of being injured, but given their lack of physical development and smaller size, it is important that they avoid double-bouncing on the same trampoline as other children or adults, to avoid directly hitting others and given that the energy transferred to them may propel them a greater distance compared to larger kids," he explained.
Ellen, who revealed she and her son were following the rules of the centre and bouncing in their own squares, wants her story to be a lesson for all parents who might not realise just how dangerous these trampoline parks are for little ones - even when following the rules.
"We share this with you today to spread awareness that these facilities are specifically advertising for Toddler Time, when in fact toddlers should be no where near trampolines," she wrote.
"We hope by sharing his story it will prevent a child and their family from experiencing the trauma and heartbreak associated with trampoline injuries in young children."