It’s all fun and games until someone breaks something on a trampoline! Trampolines are fun, but they are also responsible for a lot of injuries every year. Statistics show that in 2014 there were as many as 285 000 trampoline injuries that needed medical attention, with approximately 104 600 of those having to visit the ER.
Scary right? Trampolines are dangerous, so much so that the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons warns that children under the age of six should never be allowed to jump on them. But let’s face it, it is hard to stop kids from using them. They provide hours of entertainment, develop essential skills, and your kids are getting the exercise they desperately need.
Before you get rid of yours and ban all bouncing activities, there are a number of ways to ensure your family is safe. From setting it up, maintaining it and putting trampoline safety rules in place, everyone can have fun, and be safe.
Common Trampoline Injuries
The most common trampoline injuries include:
- Broken bones, usually the arm, wrist, ankle or leg
- Head and neck injuries
- Although (thankfully) not too common, there have been a few deaths associated with trampolines
Trampolining, like most physical activities, poses some kind of a risk, but when you know, and stick to the rules, it is a great way to get fit and spend time with family and friends.
1. Setting up the trampoline
When setting the trampoline up make sure there is at least three meters away from any potential dangers like trees, walls, poles, and fences. This will reduce the chance of a more severe injury. If your trampoline doesn’t come with padded mats, then it is a very good idea to add these, along with a safety net.
2. The best spot for your trampoline
To prevent serious injuries, it is a good idea putting your trampoline on soft ground. Sand or bark, for example, creates a soft landing should anyone fall off. Unless you have crash mats or a safety net around the trampoline, don’t place it on asphalt or concrete
3. Do regular safety checks
Doing a proper safety check on your home trampoline is essential. This will include:
- Checking that the springs are still securely attached and not loose or missing
- Check the mat to make sure there are no tears or holes. Even the slightest damage will cause the trampoline to respond differently, and make the landing harder. This increases the risk of an injury
- The trampoline must be level. If it isn’t it makes it easier for someone to land awkwardly or fall off
- So nobody trips, slips or lands on something, keep the trampoline free of toys, sticks, and leaves.
- Don’t let anyone ever jump on a wet trampoline.
4. The ladder should be used for getting onto and off the trampoline
There is a reason a trampoline comes with a ladder, and it needs to be used when children want to climb onto the mat, as well as off of it. While it is tempting to jump off, there is a good chance someone is going to get hurt.
5. Remove the ladder and any other objects kids can use to climb onto the trampoline
Yes, it looks like we are contradicting ourselves, but when there isn’t an adult around to supervise trampoline time, make sure the ladder or anything else kids use to climb onto it is out of the way.
6. Make sure they don’t jump too high
Make sure your children don’t jump too high. Getting a little over-enthusiastic is easy. However there is a good chance they will lose control and land wrong. Also, when they get tired, they need to take a rest.
7. Remove all jewelry as well as any items in pockets
It is best to remove any jewelry as well as items in pockets. Yes, it might be a bit of an inconvenience, but so is an unexpected visit to the local emergency room.
8. Don’t let anyone try and copy the stunts they see on YouTube, in movies or at trampoline parks
Even if you get the “Party Pooper Parent of the Year” award, don’t let your kids copy the stunts they see on YouTube, in movies or at the local trampoline park. Although they look simple, somersaults and backflips, for example, take hundreds of hours of practice, and they are usually performed by professionals.
Attempting these tricks without any kind of training could result in severe injuries, including disability and even death.
9. Children under the age of six shouldn’t be allowed on trampolines
We get that it’s a parent’s prerogative let their children, regardless of age, on a trampoline but the younger the child, the more chance there is of them getting hurt. There are mini trampolines that can be safely used by children as young as three.
10. Explain the importance of jumping in the center of the trampoline
Explain the importance of staying in the center of the trampoline when jumping. It not only reduces the risk of falling off, but it also prevents them from landing on the steel frame at the edge.
11. Make sure there is nothing underneath the trampoline before jumping
It is essential to be able to see underneath the trampoline at all times. Make sure there are no obstructions and that the safety net doesn’t go all the way to the floor.
There is always the chance of children putting something underneath the trampoline that can cause a severe injury should they land on it. And especially make sure there are no kids or pets under the mat.
12. Never use a trampoline if you have been drinking
We’re referring to adults here. And we also mean no one that has been drinking should be supervising children on a trampoline. Serious injuries have occurred when adults have been too busy drinking rather than keeping an eye on the kids jumping.
13. Don’t wear shoes while jumping
This is as much a safety issue as it is a maintenance one. Jumping with shoes will damage the mat over the time. It is better to bounce using trampoline socks. Jumping barefoot is better than with shoes, but there is a chance that the jumper’s toes can get caught in the springs.
14. Always make sure there is a (responsible) adult supervising children on a trampoline
There should be an adult supervising children on a trampoline at all times. Whether it is preventing them from falling off, jumping too high, or attempting crazy stunts, a responsible adult keeping an eye on things will reduce the risk of an accident.
15. There should only be one jumper at a time
We strongly recommend only one jumper at a time, although there are a few exceptions to this rule. If you are happy with it and know it is your responsibility to keep your kids safe, they can play fun games like “popcorn” or “bum wars.”
Besides only one jumper at a time, other rules include:
- No drinking or eating while jumping
- Not letting your dog up on the trampoline to jump with the kids
- No rough play while on the trampoline
- No older kids on the trampoline while little ones are using it
These rules might be met with some resistance, but trust us, it is the only way to keep trampoline time fun and injury-free.
Frequently Asked Questions About Trampoline Safety
For your convenience, we have included some of the more commons questions we receive regarding trampoline safety. Let’s take a look at what these are.
Is a trampoline good for exercising?
Trampolines are one of the most effective (and fun) ways to exercise. It is low impact, and you can burn as many as 160 calories in half an hour. Trampolines are also You build and strengthen and your muscles while getting a good cardio workout.
Should you be keen to try it out, there are mini trampolines for use indoors.
Is there an age restriction for using a trampoline?
As a general rule, trampolines can be used by kids as young as three, but it is important to make sure they are supervised at all times, and parents need to be aware of the associated risks. Most trampoline parks recommend no children under the age of three, and they also have height restrictions in place.
Are some trampoline shapes safer than others?
To be honest, a rectangle-shaped trampoline isn’t any safer than a round one, and a bigger one isn’t better than a smaller one. But a trampoline that has a safety is safer than any other type.
Can there be more than one person on a trampoline?
We would suggest only one jumper at a time to ensure absolute safety. However, if an adult is supervising, there are some games that make trampolining even more fun.
But everyone, regardless of age, should keep the rules in mind and be responsible when using a trampoline.
Do trampoline injuries happen often?
According to some statistics, there are as many as 100 000 trampoline injuries every year in the States. That is a scary number and enough to put people off jumping. However, if everyone follows the safety rules and parents ensure they are being adhered to, your kids don’t need to become a statistic.
There is no denying that trampolines are fun, but they are also dangerous. To make sure the enjoyment outweighs the risks, you need to put the necessary rules in place and ensure everyone sticks to them. Remember they aren’t important; they are flipping important!