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Pool or Trampoline? The Safety Debate

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

I saw a patient today who asked me my opinion of trampolines. It seems that she and a friend, both of whom have elementary school age children, are having a discussion about trampolines. My patient is totally against having a trampoline in her yard, although she has a pool. Her friend says that it is safer to have a trampoline than a pool. And so their debate continues.

Both pools and trampolines are fun for children, and both do pose dangers. But as my own children often told me “according to you Mom, everything that is really fun, is dangerous!” The biggest issue surrounding children playing in pools and jumping on trampolines is parental supervision. When children are taught safety and are given rules to follow that are then enforced, they may have fun and be safe at the same time.

Pools are fenced, and gated. Parents watch their children swim. This is usually the party line.

But trampolines also require the same amount of supervision and many parents don’t realize this. Most trampoline injuries occur when children are unsupervised. Many serious trampoline accidents occur when children of disproportionate weights are doubling jumping and the smaller child becomes a missile and is thrown from the trampoline when serious neck injuries may occur. Trampolines are also safest when they are buried in the ground or have safety nets on the side. Letting children jump unsupervised is as dangerous as swimming alone.

So, I can’t resolve this friendly discussion, but I do know that both pools and trampolines require parental supervision and strict safety rules to ensure the safest possible experience. And yes, they are both fun!

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again soon.

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