Trampoline Parks Are Not The Safe Pastime You Thought

Every mom needs some downtime in their day to regroup, unwind, and regain their sanity.

This is near impossible on days the kids have energy pouring out of their ears, and the rainy weather puts a damper on running that energy out in the yard.

The invention of the trampoline park seemed like a thoughtful gift from above, providing an endless floor of rebounders that had the kids giggling and preoccupied while you got to sip a latte on the sidelines; that is until the scary truth made us aware of the damage we were doing.

New research is making its way across the nation, warning parents of the unseen force wrecking our children’s bodies every time they jump.

Shockingly, trampoline parks were responsible for nearly 18,000 emergency room visits in 2017, according to CBS News, with at least 6 deaths reported from such injuries since 2012.

Deaths from a trampoline park?

It sounds impossible, but a Virginia engineer explains on Café Mom the science behind the force that is wreaking havoc on children.

The design of a trampoline park is where many trampolines are bound together, creating an “unsafe transfer of energy that makes surfaces unpredictable.”

Pete Pidcoe is an expert in trampoline park design, spending six years studying their impact on the human body.

How do we know that Pidcoe knows what he is talking about?

Credentials speak volumes, and he is a biomechanical engineer and university professor.

He is just now releasing his research findings to the general public, telling CBS News that “an entire park can turn into one large, bouncing surface.”

The surface area of the unified trampoline becomes dangerous because it makes “the system unpredictable”, Pidcoe added.

A video was cited by the engineer to demonstrate how energy transfer affects others who are bouncing at the same time on the large trampoline area.

The footage shows a dad and his son at a New Jersey trampoline park. The dad “double bounces” his son (as many children love to do), who then breaks his femur when he hits the trampoline pad.

Pidcoe commented on the horrific scene, explaining the immense force that had to have taken place for such a break to occur:

“Largest bone in your body. It takes about 900 pounds to break it. Now, he’s a child, so say maybe half that.”

Multiple tests were done by Pidcoe that looked into the result of scenarios just like the one in the footage, finding “how much force a 220-pound person would transfer into a 30-pound person.”

What was discovered was that the speed of the force was devastating for such a small body.

It’s like getting hit with a hammer,” Pidcoe said.

In any other environment, watching our children endure that much force would be traumatic!

However, because it is hidden behind smiles and surrounded by other children all doing the same thing we think nothing of it.

Dr. Craig Cook reported to CBS News that he has treated around 100 people with injuries they have sustained while jumping at a trampoline park.

Being a trauma surgeon in Utah, he has fixed up broken legs, spinal fractures, and head traumas of individuals who were just looking for a day of fun.

Cook detailed how severe the injuries actually are, comparing them to extreme auto accidents.

These are the types of injuries that we’d see with high velocity type of trauma motor vehicle crash at 90 miles per hour that rolls or an accident where a patient a victim is thrown off their motorcycle and they fly 100 feet.”

This is sad news for parents everywhere who enjoyed the excitement and release that their kids found in trampoline parks.

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But parents are not the only ones who are upset with the realities of the parks.

Trampoline park owners are not so quick to support the findings of Pidcoe, or the medical professionals attesting to the damage.

Rob Arnold, CEO of Launch Trampoline Park, responded that he just believes there is an “inherent risk” like any other sport, according to CBS News.

Some risks are just not worth it, and trampoline parks may be one of them.

There are other productive avenues kids can let out some energy and have fun, all while keeping their bodies fully intact.

With all the hype around trampoline parks growing, it may be difficult to keep your kids away, but try to explain to them that you want them to be able to play for many days, not just one.

Please let us know in the comments section what you think of trampoline parks, and if you restrict your little ones from going.