While the average age for most of the injuries was about 9 years old, the average age for axial skeleton injuries was substantially higher at 16.6 years old.
"They're probably jumping higher, with more force," Dr. Loder said.
"And believe me, teenagers are risk takers. Younger kids may not understand potential outcomes of their actions, but they're not so much risk takers. Teenagers, they'll just push the limit," he said.
Year by year, the researchers reported that emergency department visits rose steadily from just under 40,000 in 1991 to a peak of about 110,000 in 2004. Since then the numbers have fallen, to just over 80,000 in 2011.
"The number of injuries has declined, but not fast enough," Dr. Loder said.
Because the data are collected only from hospitals, both the numbers of injuries and costs are likely significantly underestimated because some patients likely went to urgent care centers or family physicians for treatment. Moreover, the data do not include costs for non-emergency-room care, from surgery to subsequent physical therapy or other treatments for more serious injuries.
Nearly all of the fractures -- 95 percent -- occurred at the patient's home. Noting that both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons strongly advise against home trampoline use, the researchers endorsed more education and better prevention strategies directed to homeowners.
In an interview, Dr. Loder went further, saying he would like to see home trampolines banned.
"I think trampolines should not be allowed in backyards. It's that simple," he said. "It's a significant public health problem."
|Contact: Eric Schoch|