Trampoline Safety: A Chiropractic Perspective


Trampolines first became popular in the early 1960s, when people were stretching fabric over large holes in the ground. Next, the fabric was put on legs or poles, but these left dangerously large gaps around the edges, and there was nothing to stop a jumper from falling off. Modern designs are supposed to be safer by ringing the trampoline with netting, but this hasn’t done much to decrease the number of injuries.

History of Trampoline Injuries

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued warnings in 1977, 1981 and 1999 emphasizing the dangers of trampolines and recommending they not be used in the home or as part of PE courses at schools. Despite these warnings, visits to emergency rooms skyrocketed between 1990 and 2005.

A 1998 article in Science Daily reported that 250,000 trampoline-related injuries were treated in hospital ERs between 1990 and 1995. The annual number of injuries had grown from 29,600 to 58,400 per year. A 1998 report in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery revealed 43 percent of all injuries were sustained by children between the ages of 5 and 9, while 28 percent were sustained by children between the ages of 10 and 14. Even more distressing is that more than 15 percent of injuries were suffered by children under the age of 4. Clearly, children under the age of 14 are sustaining the majority of the injuries.

Pediatric Neurosurgery reported in 2000 that trampolines were responsible for more than 6,500 pediatric cervical spine injuries in 1998. In 2001, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated there were 91,870 ER visits due to trampoline-related injuries. Of those injured, 93 percent of the victims were under the age of 15 and 11 percent were under the age of 5. The CPSC has further reported that since 1990, there have been 11 deaths, six of which involved children under the age of 15.

Recent Statistics

Consumer Reports released a study in 2004 stating that 98,000 people were treated in ERs because of trampoline use in 2003. More than 50,000 of these cases were children. The AAP released the latest numbers from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) in 2007. The study relied on data from 2000-2005 to estimate the number of ER visits for trampoline-related injuries by children under the age of 18. It then compared that with the data obtained from 1990 to 1995. Results showed there were an estimated 41,600 ER visits per year from 1990 to 1995, compared with an estimated 88,563 visits per year from 2000 to 2005 – an increase of 133 percent. The authors of the study believe more needs to be done to educate the public about the dangers of home trampoline use. They further state that more extreme measures need to be taken to stop parents from purchasing this apparatus that has proven to be so dangerous.

Safety Nets Don’t Make Trampolines Safe

Many parents have taken the warnings to heart and have purchased safety nets to place around the trampoline. However, as the statistics indicate, these safety measures do not prevent awkward landings, close the gaps between the springs, or stop more than one child from being on the trampoline at a time. So far, history proves the only way to truly keep children safe from trampoline injuries is to not let them on one.

How Chiropractic Can Help

The best way to protect your child is to not let them use a trampoline or, at the very least, have an adult supervise the child at all times. Keep in mind that the spine of a child has not reached full maturation until late teens into early twenties. A child is at risk of impeding proper development when exposed to repetitive injuries. 

There are several areas of the spine with which we should be concerned about when a child has been injured from trampoline usage. Upper cervical (neck) trauma, sacral (tailbone) injury (similar to repetitive-stress syndrome) and flexion-extension injury to the lumbar spine all may be consequences of trampoline use. Chiropractic adjustments can assist in the recovery of these conditions. If your child experiences moderate to severe complaints, it warrants taking radiographs and including orthopedic and possible neurological testing.

If your child experiences any type of injury from trampoline usage or sports, the staff at Total Health Systems is here to provide a complete chiropractic exam to assess their condition and put them on the right road to health and recovery.


  2. Study of Trampoline-Related Injuries Calls for Ban on Devices.Science Daily.
  3. Pediatric Neurosurgery, 2000;32(4).
  4. AAP News, September 2007;28(9):2.
  5. Dynamic Chiropractic, Vol. 30, Number 3, Claudia Anrig, DC

Jennifer Hudson's Bio

Dr. Jennifer Hudson has been a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic in Michigan since October 1993. She received a full academic scholarship at Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, Iowa. She completed her education at Marycrest College with a Bachelor of Science in Davenport, Iowa. It was there she completed her Doctor of Chiropractic degree at Palmer College of Chiropractic.