FRIDAY, May 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- People injured in trampoline accidents made more than 1 million visits to U.S. hospital emergency rooms over 10 years, at a cost of more than $1 billion, a new study shows.
Just looking at broken bones, the injury toll between 2002 and 2011 included nearly 289,000 people, mostly children, and racked up emergency department costs of more than $400 million, the Indiana University School of Medicine researchers found.
About 60 percent of those fractures occurred in the upper extremities, such as hands, fingers, forearms and elbows. Lower-extremity fractures were most common in the lower legs and ankles. The spine, head, and ribs accounted for about 4 percent of the fractures, and there were about 2,800 spinal injuries during the study period.
The vast majority of fractures occurred at home, according to the study published online April 28 in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics.
The number of emergency department visits for trampoline-related injuries rose steadily from just under 40,000 in 1991 to a high of about 110,000 in 2004. By 2011, the number had fallen to just over 80,000.
"The number of injuries has declined, but not fast enough," study author Dr. Randall Loder, chair of the Indiana University School of Medicine department of orthopedic surgery and a surgeon at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, said in a university news release.
For the study, he and his colleagues analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which collects data from hospitals across the country. The number of trampoline-related injuries is likely much higher than reported in this study because many people seek care from their family doctors or urgent care centers, the researchers noted.
Home trampolines should be banned, according to Loder.
"I think trampolines should not be allowed in backyards. It's that simple," he said. "It's a significant public health problem."
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about trampolines.