Is Jumping on a Trampoline Safe for Kids?
The backyard is a great place for activities. If you have a big enough space, you can put in a swimming pool… and more fun playtime activities. Many adventurous parents find themselves wondering: Is jumping on a trampoline safe for kids?
The short answer is: not really. When it comes to home trampolines, the risk is high enough that the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages using them.
That said, many homeowners will still want to purchase a trampoline for their yard. So let’s take a look at the potential hazards and how to decrease your chances of injury.
Is Jumping on a Trampoline Safe for Kids?
For both children and adults, trampolines pose a potential hazard. The risks can include broken bones, head injuries, scrapes, bruises, you name it! For a humorous, but serious look at the dangers of trampolines, we’ll let this clip from The Simpsons illustrate the point:
Now, obviously a cartoon is not accurate to real life. That said, a rough fall can do serious damage to anybody, young or old. This “joke” scene should hit home for a lot of parents.
According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, more than 100,000 trampoline injuries are treated in the U.S. every year. Of the injured, roughly 85% of them are children. In spite of this, trampoline sales are still on the rise.
Keeping this in mind, let’s spend some time talking about ways to make a trampoline safer.
Keep a Close Eye on Kids Jumping on a Trampoline
The best way to keep a trampoline safe for kids is to forbid their use when a responsible adult is unavailable. As with swimming, active supervision is the key to safe jumping. A parent or guardian should always be on the lookout for danger.
A powerful jump can send a little one rocketing into the air. This thrust is often far more unpredictable than a jumper expects.
When things go awry, an active supervisor will be able to react quickly to a potential injury. The key is for the adult to not become distracted. Watching kids on a trampoline should be your only focus. Don’t get into idle conversations or become lost staring at your phone.
If you’re watching little jumpers, keep a close eye on them.
One Jumper at a Time
When it comes to jumping on a trampoline, it should be a solo affair. Too many kids jumping at once can lead to surprising jumps and serious falls. When it comes to preventing injury, ideally only one jumper should be on the trampoline at a time.
Many of the most serious injuries from trampolines stem from more than one jumper at a time.
No Tricks or Flips
Next, let’s talk about how to behave on a trampoline. As we mentioned, a trampoline produces a lot more spring and boost than many people are prepared to deal with. For this reason, jumping should be kept as calm as possible.
Trying to do flips or tricks while midair may seem fun, but dangerous tricks can have disastrous results. A poorly planned jump can send you hurtling onto hard concrete. Even worse, it might bring your spine or bones down onto the hard metal supports. This can cause devastating damage. The smart way to play is to keep it calm and safe.
Get a Trampoline with Netting and Padding
Finally, let’s talk about netting and padding. As we’ve discussed, most medical professionals advise against purchasing a trampoline. That said, if you are going to buy one anyway, be sure to buy one of the safer varieties.
Above all, choose a trampoline with netting on the outside. This protective barrier will help to keep kids contained. That should alleviate a lot of the risk of kids leaving the surface of the device and crashing to the hard ground.
Additionally, soft padding over the springs and metal components can help to cushion against painful blows.
None of these are foolproof measures, but they provide an extra layer of security that shouldn’t be ignored.
We admit, trampolines can be a lot of fun. We’re not trying to be wet blankets. While most doctors and safety experts advise against buying one, we want to be sure that you are taking the proper precautions if you buy one anyway. Good luck and happy jumping!