(KMSP) - Over the last few years, families looking to have fun have fallen head over heels for trampoline parks, but a new study may flip the script on how safe these parks really are.
The study in the Journal of Pediatrics says the number of trampoline park injuries has jumped 12-fold since 2010.
In 2010, there were less than 600 emergency room visits caused by indoor trampoline parks compared to nearly 7,000 in 2014.
"Most families think they are a great place for a birthday party or something fun to do and the next thing you know is a child has a lifelong or devastating injury," Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare's pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stephen Sundberg said.
During the summer, Sundberg says he sees up five patients a week who have been injured on a trampoline.
Even though the vast majority are from home trampolines, he says those from indoor parks are often more serious.
"In indoor trampoline parks, the force with which children are bounced around, we see higher velocity injuries. more forceful injuries and so more serous injuries," Dr. Sundberg said.
But, children are not the only ones getting hurt.
39-year-old husband and father Anthony Seitz was paralyzed from the neck down after he did a forward flip and landed head first at a St. Cloud, Minn. trampoline park in front of his young son last summer.
Sundberg does not believe children should ever be on a trampoline. whether they are at a park or at home, unless their parents are prepared to have their lives turned upside down for good.
"I think trampolines are like having your child ride a four-wheeler. I think they may do just fine but the risk of suffering a devastating or life-altering or potentially fatal injury is there," Sundberg said.
According to the International Association of Trampoline Parks, there were only about 40 of them in 2011.
By 2014, that number had risen to 280, with a handful opening every month, so there is a good chance the number of injuries will continue to rise.