Park trampolines are more dangerous than home trampolines, study finds

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You might want to think twice before taking your children to a trampoline park. According a study by the British Medical Journal, kids were more than twice as likely to sustain “musculoskeletal and/or orthopedic injuries” using a trampoline at a trampoline park than kids using a trampoline at home.

“The higher tensile strength used in commercial trampoline centers may produce a harder bounce which amplifies the loading in bones and ligaments,” the study says.

Amber Worden, a 33-year-old mother of two, told CBS News correspondent Meg Oliver she shattered her lower leg bones while jumping at Defy Trampoline Park in Flint, Michigan, in May.

“You can hurt yourself. Like, I understand that, you know, that’s a possibility,” she said. “But never in my wildest dream would I ever thought that a trampoline could have the power to shatter an adult human leg.”

CBS News has been reporting on the catastrophic injuries at trampoline parks since 2019. Attorney David Chazen, who does not represent Worden, has more than 50 clients who he said have been severely injured while jumping at trampoline parks.

One person he is representing landed on his neck while doing flips, causing him to become a quadriplegic.

“Well, they’re risking death, they’re risking paralysis, and they’re risking a disabling injury,” Chazen responded when asked what kind of risk parents are taking when they bring their children to a trampoline park.

An expert interviewed in 2019 also said the danger lies in the design of the product. Since trampolines in parks are connected, waves of energy are generated in all directions — which can cause a double bounce ending in high impact collisions.

The International Adventure and Trampoline Parks Association, which represents about 25% of trampoline parks in the U.S., declined a request for an on-camera interview. The organization told CBS News in a statement that not all injuries at the parks occur on the trampoline and called them “a safe, family focused environment.”

“The increase in the number of injuries is related to the increase in the popularity of indoor trampoline facilities and not that the trampolines have an associated risk of injury,” the statement said.

Three years ago, the association said it would voluntarily start conducting third party inspections, but it says it hasn’t yet conducted those inspections due to COVID-19.

CBS News has confirmed at least six people in the U.S. have died from trampoline park injuries since 2012. That number, though, could be higher because of confidentiality agreements.

“I think Congress could take action on it, and I think the Consumer Product Safety Commission could take action on it,” said Chazen.

In a letter, Chazen recently offered the Consumer Product Safety Commission three ways to improve safety immediately: ban children under the age of 6 from using the trampolines, do not allow flips and somersaults, and remove confidentiality agreements so more injuries can be reported.

“You’re signing a waiver under the understanding that it’s like a backyard trampoline,” Worden said. “Because they’re not up front about the fact that it isn’t. So I feel like it’s deceitful that they do that.”

CBS News reached out to Defy Trampoline Park for comment on Worden’s case but hasn’t heard back. She hopes sharing her story will lead to life-saving changes.

“If this interview can keep a parent from taking their child and having this happen to a child, ’cause I’m glad it happened to me and not a kid, you know?” Worden said through tears. “I’m sorry. But, like, I just think about my own kids. And I’m just so glad that it happened to me and not to them.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission told CBS News it has not reviewed the British Medical Journal study. The commission was asked multiple times if it intends to conduct its own study on the safety of trampolines used in parks, but did not specifically respond to that question.

It said it will continue to conduct incident investigations.

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