The backyard can be a safe place to have fun, but some activities may lead to accidents and injuries that need treatment.
Potentially Dangerous Activities
Backyards are often filled with many family-friendly activities, but there are some potential dangers in certain types of equipment. Pools and hot tubs, if not properly protected, could result in drowning; in fact, over “1,000 children die from drowning” each year. A protective and locked fence for a pool, a locked hot tub cover, and adult supervision can prevent drowning. While play equipment or tree houses are made for children, falls are still possible, and injuries are greatest when the falls are high and the landings are hard surfaces. Keeping the playhouses close to mulch-covered ground could prevent serious injuries.1 Strangulation hazards, such as ropes, should also not be attached to playsets. No more than two swings should be attached to the same section of the equipment. Protruding bolts also need to be covered. Again, adult supervision is the key to safe playing.2
One of the more recent pieces of backyard toys to gain attention is the trampoline. Trampolines have been associated with orthopedic injuries. Sometimes the trampoline is used incorrectly, such as when a child jumps onto it from a stepladder or a roof. Other times, a child may perform a trick that they do not know how to do safely, such as a flip or somersault. Adding more than one person at a time to a trampoline increases the risk of accidents. Injuries may occur on the trampoline or when children are “ejected from the mat”. The most common injuries are fractures and dislocations. Soft-tissue damage may also occur.3 The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that “trampolines should never be used at home or in outdoor playgrounds”, reserving limited use in certain classes and training, such as gymnastics. There are safety rules that should be applied for trampolines, such as using safety pads and nets (such as a “trampoline enclosure”), installing the trampoline on level ground, supervising all jumpers, and allowing only one person on at a time.4
There is a specific injury called a “trampoline fracture” which is “a transverse fracture of the proximal tibial metaphysis”. It is a result of a heavier second jumper causing the “jumping surface to recoil upward” as the first jumper is coming down. Typically, this impacts children between the ages of 2 and 5. This is a preventable injury. A safety expert, Marc Rabinoff, has called trampolines “quad machines” because of the fact that “they can make you a quadriplegic in four seconds”.5 Preventing spinal injuries is important. Chiropractic care can be useful in preventing and treating musculoskeletal, sacral, flexion-extension, soft tissue, and upper cervical injuries. Sprains, fractures, head, back, and neck injuries can result from trampolines. Chiropractors are trained in dealing with sports injuries, and they are helpful in treating people of all ages: adults and children.6