Bouncing on trampolines is a popular activity among people of all ages, but especially among children. Safety on trampolines is therefore important.
While trampolining is meant to be a fun activity, it also comes with its own dangers and risks, so using caution when jumping on trampolines is a necessity, especially when young children are involved.
Are Trampolines Dangerous?
Trampolines can be extremely dangerous if the proper safety measures are not put into place before you start jumping on one. One wrong landing can result in serious and sometimes permanent injuries. While injuries are not limited to just children, with adults and teens susceptible to them as well, they are more common in children younger than 6 years old.
In fact, smaller children are more prone to getting injured on trampolines by a factor of up to 14, and falls are the most common occurrence that leads to such injuries. In addition, many trampoline injuries occur when several kids jump on a trampoline at once and end up colliding with or striking one another.
The most common injuries sustained on trampolines include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries and/or concussions
- Sprains and strains
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises
- Head and neck injuries resulting in paralysis or death
These injuries can occur when you land incorrectly after jumping or doing flips or somersaults, trying dangerous stunts, getting struck by or after striking another person, falling or jumping off of a trampoline, or landing on the springs or frame of a trampoline.
Due to the severity of some of these injuries, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, recommends never purchasing a trampoline for home use at all. While they may seem like fun and a good way to get your kids active, there are other, safer methods that you can use to introduce activity into your children’s lives. Instead, the AAP recommends the use of trampolines be confined to supervised training programs such as those for diving, gymnastics, and other competitive sports.
Trampoline Rules and Regulations
If a trampoline is purchased for home use, then the AAP recommends following these guidelines and trampoline safety tips:
- Children and teens should be supervised by an adult at all times during trampoline activity.
- Only one person should be allowed on the trampoline at one time.
- Somersaults should be prohibited as they can lead to neck and head injuries.
- Trampolines should have protective padding that is shock-absorbent and is placed over all springs, hooks, and the frame.
- Equipment should be regularly checked for damage.
- If protective padding, the net enclosure, or any other part of the trampoline is damaged, it should be replaced immediately.
Additionally, the trampoline should be placed away from trees, structures, and other play areas, and no child under the age of six should be allowed on a full-sized trampoline.
However, no matter how many safety protocols are followed, it still does not guarantee that injury will not occur. The only way to fully prevent trampoline-related injuries is to never jump on one.
Sometimes, homeowner policies will mention trampoline-related injuries, so parents are advised to check their homeowner’s policy prior to purchasing a trampoline.
How to Make Trampolines Safer
While there is no guarantee that a trampoline will be completely safe for your child to play on, there are ways that you can make the trampoline safer and hopefully prevent injuries.
Keep in mind that a cage or enclosure isn’t always safer. While enclosures may keep your child from falling off or falling onto the frame or springs, a large portion of injuries happen while a child is jumping on the trampoline itself, and an enclosure will not prevent those injuries from occurring.
You can purchase protective padding to add to the trampoline, though. In addition, make sure that you place your trampoline on level ground.
If you’re deciding to go to a trampoline park, you should know that injuries can happen there, too. In fact, injuries have been noted and seen from simple jumping activities such as bounce houses as well as trampolines, so trampoline injuries are not exclusive just to backyard trampolines.
As a general rule of thumb, you should also ensure that the following guidelines are applied to your trampoline:
- Older trampolines should be replaced/upgraded.
- Never purchase a cheap trampoline – instead, make sure to purchase one that is high-quality, even if it’s expensive.
- Ensure there are no holes or tears in the trampoline’s mat where a child could trip and fall.
- Make sure that the frame is not bent and that the legs are firmly on the ground to prevent accidental falling.
- Check the padding to ensure it is attached and has no holes or cracks.
- Look for corrosion, rust, or deterioration on the frame that may affect the quality of the trampoline.
If you happen to notice any such damage, then it’s time to replace your trampoline.
While jumping on a trampoline seems fun, that doesn’t mean that you should allow your kids to engage in this activity. There are safer alternatives that your kids can do instead that will get them active and introduce exercise into their daily routines.
These activities include:
- Riding a bike
- Going for walks
- Playing on playground equipment
If your child strongly wishes to jump on trampolines, though, you can still ensure that they do so under adult supervision and with certain safety measures in place to help avoid trampoline-related injuries.