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When it comes to backyard trampolines, just say no

A simple danger lurking in your backyard - or your neighbor's - could lead to tragic injuries and significant legal liability.

Trampolines have long been popular among school-aged children. They may seem like a good source of entertainment and exercise. However, there are plenty of reasons to keep your kids well away.

Injuries from backyard trampolines are shockingly common. According to some estimates, over the course of a decade, trampoline injuries led to more than a million emergency room visits and incurred more than a billion dollars in medical costs. The most common injuries included:

As you can see, some of these injuries result in devastating, lifelong disabilities.

The safety net enclosures that now come with most trampolines aren't enough to reduce the risks. While they might prevent falls off the edge of the trampoline, they won't prevent serious injuries caused by collisions between kids or misjudged landings.

Likewise, adult supervision, while important, doesn't eliminate the danger. An accident can happen in the blink of eye, and there might be nothing you can do to avoid it.

Even just having a trampoline exposes you to potentially enormous liability. For many kids, trampolines are virtually irresistible. A fence might not be enough to keep the neighbor kids from sneaking in when you're not home. And most insurance policies have exclusions or restrictions for liability coverage involving trampolines.

Recognizing these dangers, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued an official statement warning parents about the hazards of trampolines. It's best to just say no.

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