So, you’re considering buying a trampoline for your family, or maybe you’ve already bought one. Then you hear about how dangerous trampolines are. You hear the stories and reports of injuries that can happen when using a trampoline. Now your worried that a trampoline isn’t the right choice for your family. Yes, trampolines can be dangerous, and yes, people do get injured on trampolines frequently. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to use your trampoline safely so that your family can enjoy having fun and making memories together.
People get injured riding bikes, but you still bought each of your kids a bike to ride, you just make sure they wear their helmet. Kids can drown while swimming, but you still take your kids to the pool and the lake, you just make sure they have life jackets and stay within reach. As with any other physical recreation activity, you know there are risks, but you do what you can to make those risks less likely to occur. So, what are some basic things that you can do to help your kids stay safe on their trampoline?
If you haven’t yet purchased a trampoline, then the first step you can take towards safety is to start off right and buy the right trampoline. Take into consideration your children’s age and any physical limitations they may have. Children under two are generally too small and uncoordinated to use any trampoline, so it’s best to avoid buying one until they are a little older.
For older toddlers and younger children, there are small, personal-sized trampolines made especially for them. These smaller trampolines are low to the ground to prevent injuries from falling off, they only fit one person at a time, and a lot of them have a handlebar and/or enclosure to help kids as they work on their balance. They can also be used for older kids, teens, and adults with certain disabilities or as personal exercise equipment.
For kids over 6 years of age, teens and adults, a standard trampoline works great! These trampolines tend to sit 2 to 3 feet off the ground, and range in diameter, with the most common being 10 to 14 feet across.
After you purchase your trampoline, you want to make sure to set it up correctly. You never want to set up a trampoline on a hard surface like concrete or asphalt. Make sure that the area you choose to set up your trampoline is even and on a softer surface like grass. It’s even better if you can surround your trampoline with padding, or a soft playground mulch. Some people even install their trampolines in-the-ground so that the jumping surface is at ground level, which would prevent falls altogether. If you have the ability to do this, it’s definitely the safest option.
It is also recommended to avoid setting up the trampoline near trees, fences, and other structures. This helps to avoid kids jumping from those structures onto the trampoline and also prevents them from hitting into these structures in case of a fall.
All trampolines come with spring pads that cover the springs connecting the jumping surface to the frame. This keeps you from landing on the springs or having your foot go through the space between springs. Most trampolines also come with a net encloser held up by padded poles to prevent falling off the trampoline. When you put together your trampoline, make sure to install all safety features according to the instructions and check them regularly to make sure they are still in good working condition.
Any time a child under 10 is using a trampoline there should always be an adult outside supervising. Kids tend to get carried away when they are left to supervise themselves. Older kids and teens are better able to manage using the trampoline safely, but an adult should always be in the area, or at least be at the home, in case an injury does occur. If your child is younger than 6, an adult should stay at the side of the trampoline, within reach of the child.
Before anyone starts jumping on the trampoline, make sure that there is nothing under, on top of, or around the outside of the trampoline. Sweep off any leaves, sticks, or other objects that may make their way onto the trampoline to prevent slipping and tripping. It’s also best to avoid using the trampoline if it’s raining, or wet.
Make sure that anyone using the trampoline removes any jewelry or loose articles that may be in their pockets. This helps to avoid getting jewelry caught in the trampoline, or objects flying around and hitting someone while jumping.
Never allow anyone to go under the trampoline if someone is on top of it. Serious injury can occur to someone if they go under the trampoline and get jumped on. In general, it’s probably a good idea to just keep other people away from the trampoline when it is being used. Even just standing next to the trampoline could cause injury if someone falls off and lands on a bystander.
75% of all trampoline related injuries occur when multiple people are jumping on a trampoline at the same time. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that only one person is on the trampoline at a time. If you’re going to allow multiple people on the trampoline then at least make sure that only one person is jumping, while the others are sitting around the edge.
You should always jump in the center of the trampoline and never around the edges, and refrain from doing flips and tricks.
An exception can be made in the case of younger kids and those with a disability if an adult is on the trampoline to assist the child. Even though standard trampolines are not recommended for children under 6; if you choose to let your younger child or toddler on a standard trampoline you should always accompany them and hold onto their hands as they jump. In this case, those should be the only two people on the trampoline.
As you can see, there are several things you can do to make trampolines safe and fun for the entire family. These are just a few of the most basic, simple ways to stay safe on your trampoline. Trampolines don’t have to be dangerous, and as long as you take the necessary steps to avoid injury, you and your family can enjoy having fun together on your trampoline at all ages and stages of life!