A pair of Florida parents is warning others about the apparent dangers of trampolines after they said their 3-year-old son’s playtime left him in a cast from the waist down.
Kaitlin Hill, 29, shared an emotional photo last week of her son, Colton, who she said “fell and broke his femur, the strongest bone in his body, while innocently jumping alongside his dad and I” at an indoor trampoline park in Tampa.
“Our lives have been turned upside down since Colton’s accident and every day is a struggle for his sweet 3 year old self as he adjusts to life in a hip spica cast for the next 6 weeks,” Hill wrote alongside the photo, which has been shared more than 250,000 times. (A hip spica body cast keeps a child’s hips and legs from moving during the healing process.)
Reached by phone early Wednesday morning, Hill referred The Washington Post to her attorney, who was not immediately available for comment for the story.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that children younger than 6 should not use trampolines and older kids should use them only under adult supervision. The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, warns that trampolines should not be used except in supervised athletic training programs.
“We had no idea and were shocked to find this out from our pediatric orthopedic surgeon during Colton’s hospital stay,” Hill wrote on Facebook about the research.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that there were more than 100,000 emergency room-treated trampoline injuries in 2014, and at least 22 reported deaths from 2000 to 2009.
Children can sustain serious and sometimes permanent injuries on trampolines even when under adult supervision, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The organization states that most injuries occur when more than one person is jumping and can include sprains, strains and broken bones as well as head and neck injuries and concussions.
Bethany Evans, executive vice president of International Association of Trampoline Parks, said that she could not comment on the Hills’ situation but said, in general, the nonprofit trade association advocates that trampoline parks adhere to industry standards. She said there should be a court monitor stationed at each trampoline in use, there should never be more than one bouncer per trampoline and that a bouncer should never attempt any activity outside his or her skill set.
Evans said the association does not set an age minimum, noting it is at the discretion of the parents and the trampoline parks.
Colton’s mother said in an update online that she and the child’s father were not bouncing in the same square as their son.
For those who choose to use trampolines at home, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends certain safety guidelines:
- Adult supervision at all times
- Only one jumper on the trampoline at a time
- No somersaults performed
- Adequate protective padding on the trampoline that is in good condition and appropriately placed
- Check all equipment often
- When damaged, protective padding, the net enclosure, and any other parts should be repaired or replaced
Hill said on Facebook that she shared her son’s story to help save other children from “experiencing the trauma and heartbreak associated with trampoline injuries.”
She told the Associated Press that her son’s injury has been “traumatic,” noting that he has had to return to wearing diapers and has to travel in an extra wide car seat.
“We don’t leave the house other than going to doctors’ appointments. You can imagine what is like for an active 3-year-old to be constrained in almost a full-body cast,” Hill told the news agency. “Every single night, he gets only four or five hours of sleep because he wakes up reliving the incident.”