Trampoline parks soar in popularity but are they safe?

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Indoor trampoline parks are becoming increasing popular with nearly a dozen springing up just in North Carolina in recent years.

According to the International Association of Trampoline Parks, only a handful existed in 2009 but by the end of 2015, there were more than 350 across the country, at least five of those in the Triangle.

But, as their popularity soars, the question many are asking is are they safe?

Izzy Kempson, a middle school student in Raleigh, broke her ankle at a trampoline park and spent several weeks in a boot.

“I was jumping from trampoline to trampoline and my ankle got caught under the mat and I kept going,” she told CBS North Carolina. “It just twisted and broke.”

Kempson’s injury is just one of the nearly 100,000 trampoline-related injuries that occur in the U.S. each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In Raleigh and Durham last year there were 31 911 calls to trampoline parks for things like sprains and fractures.

There are no federal regulations for trampoline parks. Only Arizona and Michigan have specific safety laws. The International Association of Trampoline Parks, however, has developed voluntary safety guidelines.

Kevin Sisson owns the Launching Pad Trampoline Park in Raleigh. He says his park follows those guidelines.

“We take safety seriously,” he said. “It really starts when the customer walks in. The first thing they do is watch a two minute safety video.”

He continued, “The trampolines themselves, everything starting from the construction of our trampolines, they’re very solid steel posts that the trampoline frames are made out of. We have padding around all of the columns. We have padding on the floor. Anywhere within five feet of a drop surface is padded.”

When asked what parents should look for, Sisson says parents should ask themselves if the park is taking as many precautions as they can.

“Do they make sure there’s only one person jumping per trampoline? Which is where most of the injuries happen at trampoline parks,” he added.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against the use of trampolines other than in a supervised setting, such as in a gymnastics facility, where jumpers are spotted.

It also warns against using trampolines as toys in the backyard and allowing children younger than six to participate.

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