Pediatric surgeon in Würzburg warns of “catapult effect” and other dangers

Trampoline is very popular. The short moments of weightlessness make a lot of people laugh. Children and young adults in particular are excited. But also adults. You can use the trampoline for fitness training or exercise, it combines purpose and joy.

However, some are less enthusiastic. “Games, Fun and Slots!” This is how the University Hospital Würzburg (UKW) is replacing an existing press release. In this department, the Department of Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Urology and Pediatric Traumatology draws attention to the “catapult effect”. It leads to 40,000 accidents between girls and boys in Germany each year.

What are the risks of accidents on a trampoline?

“68 percent of trampoline accidents occur when several children jump at the same time,” says Professor Thomas Maier, Head of the Department of Pediatric Surgery in Würzburg. For 42 percent, landing failure was the cause. According to Meyer, half of children (average age eight years) are affected in the lower extremities (hips, legs and feet), and in a third of the upper extremities (the shoulder girdle, arms and hands). “Here above every elbow.” According to him, injuries of the cervical vertebrae are relatively rare, but the risk of paraplegia should not be underestimated.

What are the usual injuries when jumping on a trampoline

One of the classic injuries that children under the age of six suffer when jumping on a trampoline is a fracture of the proximal tibia, i.e. a fracture in the upper part of the leg. “In the professional world, the name ‘trampoline break’ has already become known for this purpose,” says pediatric surgeon Meyer. The reason here is always a trampoline with a heavier child or adult. “It’s easy to have a slingshot effect here.”

What other serious injuries can a trampoline cause?

According to pediatric surgeon Meyer, serious accidents also occur if the net around the trampoline is not closed or has defects. In this case, serious injuries in the region of the elbow joint or under the forearm are uncommon. Even if kids jump on a trampoline with other sports equipment, such as a ball, serious injuries, such as knee injuries, are likely to occur, according to Meyer. Therefore, it is advised not to take playing equipment with you on the trampoline.

What injuries do not appear immediately?

There are also trampoline-related injuries that are not directly related to the trampoline. About sudden increasing abdominal pain, accompanied by vomiting. Professor Meyer gives an example: he diagnosed ovarian torsion in a young patient. With a keyhole operation, UKW’s pediatric surgery team was able to untie the torsion and thus preserve the ovary, according to Mayer.

What warnings and safety instructions given by doctors?

According to UKW, the German Society of Pediatric Surgery and the German Society of Orthopedic and Traumatology have repeatedly warned about the dangers of jumping on trampolines in recent years, citing the particular danger to young children. So they recommend this activity only from the age of six. The Professional Society of Pediatricians offers the following warnings and safety instructions for trampoline use: Children under the age of six should not use a trampoline; They are not without a safety net and they do not jump together; no somersaults or other jumps over the head; Children should only jump in the presence of adults.

How high is the risk of accidents in the trampoline hall?

Of course there are accidents, but only a few of them, says Corina Lewis, assistant management assistant for the “SkyandSand” trampoline park in Würzburg, which opened in 2019. “We’ve had three in the past six months,” says Lewis. “We have been part of an initiative for two years that only reports incidents in trampoline halls.” Many statistics do not distinguish where accidents occurred, but list all accident sites together, such as home garden, school, playground and hall. One of the causes of accidents is overconfidence. “This is why we advise against jumping periods that are too long,” says Leuze.

How do trampolines prevent accidents when jumping?

Corina Luz of SkyandSand knows that every trampoline park has a safety concept. There are safety instructions before the fun. The rules include, for example: jump only with non-slip jumping socks and with both feet in the middle of the trampoline. Children under the age of 12 are allowed in the hall with an accompanying adult. Only one person is allowed per trampoline. “Jumping is not allowed due to the danger of catapults,” says Leuze. “We pay a lot of attention to that, because it can lead to sprains and ruptures of the ligaments.”

Reviews Stiftung Warentest about trampolines for the home garden is available online at:

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