The damage under the skull was so great, the neurosurgeon assumed the unresponsive girl on the operating table before her had been catapulted from a car during a high-speed crash.

Just two days after Christmas, Kaylah Exard, 4, was playing with her sisters on their new enclosed trampoline, when she fell — most likely when turning around to zip up the net door — and landed head first on the concrete.

In previous years, RCH theatre staff were used to seeing kids with broken arms and wrists who had fallen from trampolines — with their arms stretched out to break the fall.

But head injuries from trampolines, either from falling backwards when getting out of netted trampolines or from clashes between multiple children bouncing inside, have become more common.

Last year, 74 children were admitted to the RCH with trampoline injuries.

After five weeks in hospital and two surgeries to remove and later replace a palm-sized piece of skull, Kaylah has started kindergarten. She has amazed her parents, Ben and Hayley, with her progress.

“I couldn’t be happier. The hospital has done absolutely everything they could, and so now we’ve got our little girl back,” Ms Ezard said.

“You wouldn’t expect something that brings so much joy to cause that much injury,” Ms Ezard said.

“You can’t take those safety features of the trampoline, like the net or ladder, for granted.

“Never take your eyes off them, even for a split second.”

It has been a long road home. For the first week, the pressure of her swollen brain on the optic nerve meant Kaylah could not see.

“It was horrible,” Ms Ezard said. “She was crying, ‘where are you, Mummy? Where are you?’.”

Kaylah spent a month in a helmet while a piece of skull was removed last month, by neurosurgeon Wirginia Maixner, to give her swollen and injured brain time to heal.

Kaylah will continue to be monitored for the effect the brain injury had on her leg muscle tone.

Now back at home — without her helmet or neck brace — Kaylah knows the trampoline is out of bounds for her. She begs her sisters not to play on it without her.

“She tells them it isn’t fair for her,” Ms Ezard said.

“We tend to let them go on it when she isn’t around. But just one at a time.”

“But no one can tell her she can’t do something. She’s too determined and that’s why she’ll be fine.”

Pediatrician Anthea Rhodes says trampolines can be fun and safe when used properly.

“But allowing multiple children on a trampoline has been compared to cage fighting by our trauma service at the Royal Children’s Hospital,” she said in a statement via news.com.au.

Kidsafe recommends

  • The area around and underneath the trampoline should be clear from obstacles such as concrete, bikes, tools, rocks, overhanging trees, electrical wires, walls or other structures.
  • Never use the trampoline on concrete or pavers because the user could be severely injured from landing heavily on a hard surface.
  • Surround the trampoline with impact absorbing material such as bark or mulch tested to AS/NZS4422 Playground Surfacing.
  • Only one user on the trampoline at a time.
  • Supervise children using the trampoline at all times.
  • AS 4989 states that trampolines are not recommended for children under six years of age.
  • Show your child the correct use of the trampoline by teaching safe usage practices.

Share your comments below.

Image stock photo

Story Via Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne.

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  • definately look for the trampolines that have shorter legs/stands as they are closer to the ground. invest in those rubber mats for the entrance.


  • Just hope she gets through this physcially and emotionally ok.


  • Thank God Kayla has progressed so well ! Hope and pray she’ll recover totally.
    There are certainly dangers in jumping on the trampoline (as there is in bike riding, riding on scooters and skate boards etc). The only thing we can do is take the precautions serious and watch them when they’re little. To be honest I don’t watch my 11 and 12 year old and not even my 7 year old all the time.

    • I agree with you – there are dangers involved in all activities. Children still need to be active and participate in activities.


  • Trampolines without nets were criticised and now trampolines with nets are criticised. All play equipment has the potential to be involved in accidents. Even with supervision accidents can and do occur. The child in this article sounds resilient and keen to get back on a trampoline.


  • oh my what a lucky little girl and her family.

    It must have been very scary for her parents.

    I hope she doesn’t have a fear of trampolines and can enjoy bouncing on one in the future


  • This is why I love the underground trampolines!!


  • All physical activity has inherent risks, you need to weigh them up. Also, lack of physical activity has risks including delayed development.


  • Even watching closely, you might not be able to prevent this kind of injury.


  • Our trampoline is on lawn but if you fall on that the soil is hard too. Injuries can be caused by landing awkwardly in the middle of the mat, even just by having one leg bent more than the other.
    Maybe strong plastic steps with no gaps like ladders have might be safer than a ladder.


  • Our family members have had injuries in the past also.


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