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Trampolines Are Still Unsafe, Pediatricians Warn

Despite a drop in injuries over years, the devices still pose a safety hazard, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

A neighbor dispute over a trampoline in March 2011 proved that Mill Valley residents have strong feelings about the bouncy mats.

Most of that colorful debate revolved around the technical issue of whether or not trampolines should be designated as "accessory structures," a categorization that includes things like decks and in-ground swimming pools and triggers the city’s zoning regulations on where such structures can be placed.

But now the American Academy of Pediatrics has reiterated its warning that kids should stay off trampolines, saying that despite a drop in trampoline-related injuries, the bouncy mats remain unsafe.

The organization released a policy statement this week saying that accidents occur most often when there are multiple people on the trampoline, and include spinal injuries with falls off the equipment or when jumpers attempt somersaults or flips.

"Therefore, the home use of trampolines is strongly discouraged," the AAP stated.

Reuters Health also reported that while the number of trampoline injuries nationwide has dropped over the years—from 111,851 cases treated at U.S. emergency rooms in 2004, to 97,908 in 2009—the devices aren't necessarily more safe.

The AAP's statement updates recommendations from 1999, which caused manufacturers to add safety features to the products in an attempt to mitigate the risks. The most popular of those features is a safety net that encircles the trampoline and cuts the number of injuries by half, Mark Publicover, founder and president of JumpSport Inc, a trampoline manufacturer in San Jose, told Reuters.

What do you think? Do you let your kids play on trampolines? Tell us in the comments.

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