Trampoline Safety Tips
Published in Safety on April 25, 2017.
Spring has officially sprung, and while the days may feel cold, warmer weather is just around the corner. April is when we bring our patio furniture out of storage, fire up the grill, and begin enjoying time outdoors. For some of us, it’s also time to take an inaugural jump on the trampoline. Whether you’re setting up your own, or your children are begging to jump on the neighbor’s new toy, heed these tips to keep your kids safe on trampolines.
An Increase in Trampoline-Related Injuries
According to a recent study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, trampoline injuries have increased in recent years. The study’s authors point to an increase in the popularity of trampoline parks driving the trend. In 2014, there were nearly 7,000 pediatric emergency department visits from trampoline park-related injuries, and an additional 90,000 due to other trampolines (home, school, recreational facilities, etc). The most commonly coded injuries are dislocations, fractures, contusions, and concussions.
Trampoline injuries can be serious, especially when they involve children. That’s why the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) warns against using them in any playground, home, or school setting.
How Can I Keep My Family Safe?
Unfortunately, it’s not always feasible to keep your kids in a bubble, they will likely encounter a trampoline at a friend’s house, birthday party, or recreational outing, even if you don’t have one in your own yard. Observe the following safety tips the next time your kids want to head out for some bouncing fun:
- Encourage age-appropriate use. Trampoline use can be a great way for older children to burn off energy, but they’re not appropriate for children under 6. According to the AAOS, younger children lack the coordination to control bouncing and will fly off when it gets too intense. If you have a trampoline in your own yard, remove any ladders, so your younger children can’t get onto a trampoline while unsupervised.
- Always provide adequate supervision. Supervise older children while they’re using the trampoline, even if you think they’re mature enough to follow directions. Never allow children and teens to do somersaults or other tricks without protective gear. Keep in mind that the children most likely to report to the emergency department for trampoline-related injuries are males with a median age of 13.
- Pad and lower your trampoline. If you have your own trampoline, take extra steps to make it safer. Experts suggest lowering the unit to the ground to minimize risk of injury. Outfit the trampoline with extra padding around the bars to minimize risk of concussion, and consider adding padding to the ground to cushion falls.
- Read the manual. When putting together your trampoline for the first time, read all the instructions. Be sure to follow all specific directions for assembling the frame, and read up on maximum weight limits before letting your children take their first bounce.
- Only allow one jumper at a time. On smaller home units, only one bouncer should occupy the trampoline at a time. This prevents children from losing control and being tossed around. On the other hand, kids think teamwork-based games are often part of the fun. If you’re going to let more than one child on at a time, make sure they are evenly matched in height and weight.
If going to a trampoline park, try to plan your visit at “off-peak” times. Some facilities have designated hours for toddlers and preschoolers to protect their little bodies from being tossed around. In general, the fewer guests in attendance, the less risk for injury. Always follow all safety rules and regulations.