A decade ago the number of trampoline injuries was described as an ‘epidemic’ by some commentators. In part this was based on the huge rise in injuries in the UK between 1990 and 1995 when numbers soared from 29600 to 58400 
At the weekend my children were playing on trampolines at a country farm. I will be honest – I have mixed feelings on trampolines. Not a clinical shift goes by with there being at least one child who has had some form of injury from a trampoline (regardless of the presence of ‘safety netting’). And at least on of my colleagues agrees! One the flip side I concede they are great fun.
So how much fun do they have to provide to outweigh the trouble they cause? I was mulling this over while reading a paper on QALY’s recently and decided to have my own stab at health economics.
Lets create a theoretical ‘fun’ index.
Finding good data to support further calculation is tricky. Surveys have found that 49% of 4-15 year-olds trampoline, while 23% do so regularly . Working out how many trampolines there are in the UK is tricky – in 2003 40000 were sold but I am having difficulty finding more recent figures . The incidence of trampoline injuries is also difficult to quantify – US data put a figure of 160 per 100000 children in the 5-14 age group . So lets do a back of the napkin calculation:
In an region with 100000 children there will be 49000 who are trampolining. Of these 160 will get injured.
The total amount of fun for those who don’t get injured (and taking a stance that most will have good fun possible) scenario is:
48840 x 0.8 = 39072 units of fun
If all children injured have little fun (again a least possible fun scenario):
160 x 0.2 = 32 units of fun.
Even if children had not much fun on their trampolines you can see the huge numbers of children who don’t get injured will always mean fun will be had!
[note though this approach doesn’t take account of multiple children on a trampoline which clearly increases the fun but also increases in the risk of injury]
I welcome challenge on this approach but only if taken in the spirit of this blog 🙂
 AvonSafe – Action for safety report 2011
 BBC – The ups and downs of garden trampolines 2012
 Bhangal K, Neen D, Dodds R. Incidence of trampoline related paediatric fractures Injury Prevention 2006;12:133–134.
 CBS News – Pediatricians warn against trampoline use, citing injury risk 2012