Sunday, March 29, 2009

Is it worth the risk?

The kids have been pestering me to get them a trampoline, so I've been doing a bit of research. I figured as a minimum I'd get a good (not cheap) large trampoline with a safety enclosure and fully covered springs etc. However, some words of warning from friends of ours has made me think that may not be enough, so I've done a bit of browsing and this is what I've found out:

The statistics in the following table reflect the number of trampoline related injuries treated in emergency rooms.

Year Number Injured Age Group
1995 52,103 Under age 15

1996 83,000* More than 75%* under age 15
1998 95,000* About 75%* under age 15

Since 1995, the number of injuries has increased between 30% and 45%.

Here's another article I found:

Approximately 250,000 injuries from trampolines are treated every year. Almost half of these are children younger that 14. That number has tripled in the last decade. Between 1990-1999, 11 people died from trampoline injuries and six of those were children.
Some reported injuries are crippling and include spinal injuries, or paralysis. These types of injuries are often associated with people coming in contact with the trampoline’s sides or edges, or with another person.
The most common injuries include foot or leg injuries, arm and hand injuries and accidents to the face, and neck. Most of these injuries happen with jumpers collide with one another or from trying stunts such as cartwheels or flips.

The statistic that I find the most frightening is that about 10% of trampoline related injuries affect the head and neck. Although many injuries are minor (e.g. bruises), some can be serious such as broken bones, blunt trauma, and paralysis.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that trampolines never be purchased for home use and advises parents never to let their children use someone else’s trampoline. Further, the American Medical Association advocates that children should never be allowed to play on a trampoline, even under adult supervision.

Pretty strong stuff eh? I'm liking this trampoline idea less and less.

Another issue to take into account in "the land of litigation and lawyers" is the financial damage that can result from being a trampoline owner. Many states, including Massachusetts, can refuse to insure the homeowner for trampoline related injuries, either to yourself, your family, or anyone else who uses your trampoline.

Here's an actual query that someone submitted to one of those free legal advice websites:

My husband was at a neighbors party and fell on the trampoline breaking his ankle. The expenses thus far have been mostly covered by our own accident policy. Those funds are now exhausted. His injury took a turn for the worse and he has to have additional surgery. The friends insur agent sent us a check for the max amount of their "medical pmts to others" portion of their policy and said that was all they could do. My question(s) are 1) with this type of accident, doesn't their liability portion of their policy take effect? This pmt will not come close to the bills this subsequent surgery will cost 2) Should I cash this check or would that signify acceptance of a settlement? 3) Should we get an attorney?

One of the responses to this enquiry was:

I am sure her husband did not TRY to break his ankle, and when the homeowners bought the trampoline they KNEW that there was a risk that someone could get hurt on it. .... you are probably going to lose some friends over this, but sue them

Nice huh? Chances are the guy got drunk at the neighbors party and started goofing off on the trampoline and fell. And now they are looking for the neighbors to pay for his stupidity!! Methinks this couple won't get invited to too many more parties!!

I could do more research and get more data but I think I've seen enough. The kids will have to make do with their swingball and basketball hoop for the summer.

Heres a video off Youtube, not great quality but it gets the point across.

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