NEW YORK, Nov 27 — Inflatable castles and slides are often a kids' birthday party essential, but researchers say they've found an alarming increase in injuries over the years.
In a study published Monday, scientists at the Centre for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in the US examined paediatric injuries associated with inflatable bouncers.
Dr. Gary A. Smith and his colleagues found that from 1995 to 2010 there was a 15-fold increase in the number of injuries that were treated in US emergency centres among children younger than 18 years old.
In 2010 alone, more than 30 children per day, or about one child every 45 minutes, were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries linked to inflatable bouncers. The study, which appears online in the journal Paediatrics, found that the most common injuries were fractures, sprains and strains, but 19 per cent of injuries were to the head and neck.
"It is time for us to take action to prevent these injuries, says Smith. "Ensuring that parents are aware of the potential risks, improving surveillance of the injuries, developing national safety guidelines and improving bouncer design are the first steps." The study follows a warning published in the same journal in September from the American Academy of Paediatrics that states that backyard trampolines aren't worth the risks.
"One-third to one-half of all trampoline-related injuries happened with an adult supervising trampoline use," said Susannah Briskin, MD, a co-author of the policy statement. "If injuries are still occurring, adults are likely not appropriately monitoring behaviour on the mat."
Access the new study: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/11/21/peds.2012-0473.abstract