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Spine Fractures More Common at Trampoline Parks, Study Shows

Across the United States, an explosive growth in recreational facilities boasting trampolines coincides with alarming growth in trampoline-related injuries in children, including those to the spine, according to new research.

Dr Serena Freiman

Among youths, the risk for trampoline parkÔÇôrelated fractures is about three times higher than for home-based trampoline fractures, said study author Serena Freiman, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Recreational sports facilities with trampolines “pose a public health hazard,” Freiman said during a presentation at the virtual American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2020 National Conference.

“There aren’t any set regulations for these parks, so the American Society for Testing and Materials released a set of standards, but only Michigan and Arizona enforced those,” Freiman explained.

“Hopefully, since we’re showing a significant increased risk of injuries, the federal government will enforce regulations throughout the United States,” she told Medscape Medical News.

The first trampoline park in the United States opened in 2004, Freiman said. By 2018, there were more than 800 recreational facilities with trampolines across the country. This rapid growth coincided with a 45% increase in emergency department (ED) visits for trampoline-related injuries, from 61,509 in 2014 to more than 89,000 in 2017.

“There’s been exponential growth since their founding,” she said, “and with that we’ve also seen an exponential growth in injuries, whereas home injuries [from trampolines] remained stable during that time period.”

To assess the rates of trampoline-related injuries, Freiman and colleague analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). They included all patients whose records include a code for trampoline injury and who presented to a hospital ED between 1998 and 2017. They compared home trampoline injuries with those sustained at recreational facilities.

During the study period, more than 1.37 million patients presented to the ED for trampoline-related injuries. Of those, 125,473 occurred at recreational facilities, and 1.22 million occurred at home. Injuries at trampoline parks increased 90-fold between 2004 and 2017 (0.04 per 10,000 ED visits in 2004 to 0.9 per 10,000 in 2017), with 69% of those injuries occurring between 2012 and 2017.

Home-based trampoline injuries dropped during the study period, from 2.8 per 10,000 ED visits in 2014 to 1.6 in 2017.

Patients injured at trampoline facilities tended to present at large hospitals, Freiman noted, likely because of these parks being located in more populated regions.

The type of injury differed between locations. Severe injuries, such as spine fractures, occurred three times as often at trampoline parks than at home (2.7% vs 0.9%; P = .016).

Internal organ injuries occurred more frequently on home-based trampolines (20.1% home-based trampolines vs 2.3% trampoline parks; P < .001), whereas strains and sprains were more common at trampoline parks (32% vs 51%; P < .001).

“Since home trampolines are often off the ground, I would speculate that you’re more likely to hit the edge of the trampoline or fall from it,” she said, “whereas at recreational sports facilities, there are often multiple jumpers, and you’re not falling

Seattle Parks reopens playgrounds, fitness equipment, but kids will have to wait their turn

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Good news for those with stir-crazy kids: Seattle Parks and Recreation is reopening 150 outdoor play areas to the public with new safety guidelines Tuesday.

The play areas closed in March when the novel coronavirus first hit the region as they were considered “high touch” areas that could easily spread the virus. But with new research showing that the virus is unlikely to spread through surfaces, the city’s parks have gotten the green light to reopen with new rules in place to limit transmission.

To keep swings, climbers and slides safe, play equipment will be limited to five or fewer children at any one time. In accordance with the statewide mask mandate, all children above the age of two will be required to wear a mask although there are some exceptions.

To maintain social distancing and occupancy requirements, the department is asking parents to visit parks at less busy times and only stay for 30 minutes or less to give others the opportunity to play. Green Lake, Seward, Magnuson, Discovery, Lincoln, Gas Works, Carkeek and Jefferson Park are some of the more popular play areas in the city and may be busier during weekends.

“We are all in this together, so kindly remind others of the guidelines and find a different activity if the play area gets too crowded,” Seattle Parks wrote in its blog. “We cannot allow play areas to be places where COVID-19 is spread, so we need folks to use these spaces safely.”

Cal Anderson’s playground will remain closed as the park has not officially reopened in the wake of summer protests.

Those who have canceled their gym membership in the past months are also in luck as outdoor fitness equipment at all Seattle parks reopened Tuesday. The equipment follows similar guidelines to play areas, including limiting use to five or fewer people at any one time and requiring masks.

The department also emphasized that play areas and fitness equipment are not regularly sanitized or cleaned and all users should wash or sanitize hands before and