Thousands of families may have trampolines in their yards, but that doesn’t mean this piece of play equipment is safe for use. Despite warnings from several organizations regarding the dangers of at-home trampoline use, families continue to use these products every year. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were almost 286,000 trampoline injuries in 2014. More than 90% of victims were children. The majority of these injuries occur with at-home trampolines, but trampoline parks are becoming a significant source of youth injury around the nation. Use this safety guide to help prevent trampoline injuries in your family this summer.
Safeguard Your Trampoline
The most common trampoline injuries are sprains and fractures, often from falling off the trampoline or landing wrong on the mat. More severe injuries from children performing tricks and landing on their heads and necks have also occurred. Help prevent these types of injuries by investing in a trampoline net. Most modern trampolines come equipped with built-in safety nets. You can also find them sold separately.
Don’t rely solely on the net – the majority of injuries occur from incorrect landings on the mat, frame, or springs. Take further steps to ensure your child’s safety. Provide a soft landing area around the trampoline in case a child falls off. If your lawn doesn’t have a soft area available, invest in a trampoline pad. This accessory can soften the area around a trampoline, and is available on many online sites. Properly maintain your trampoline, and retire it if you notice dangerous wear and tear, such as spring deterioration.
Establish Ground Rules
Before letting your child play on a trampoline, establish some rules with him or her. Jumpers should not perform high-risk stunts such as flips without proper instruction and adult supervision. The only time children should perform trampoline stunts is with the assistance of a harness. Only allow one child at a time on the trampoline. This will prevent contact injuries, such as children jumping on one another.
Do not let children under the age of six jump on a trampoline. Supervise children at all times while jumping, and assign spotters for increased safety. Place your trampoline at ground level, not on a deck or raised surface. This will only lead to the risk of falls from greater heights. Remove trampoline ladders or close trampolines off while not in use to prevent injuries from children sneaking onto the equipment.
Prepare for the Trampoline Park
Trampoline parks are indoor amusements that are swiftly rising in popularity around the country. Unfortunately, this has led to a spike in trampoline-related injuries. Before taking your child, teach him or her how to prevent injuries in these unique settings. Here are three general tips:
- Stay a safe distance away from other jumpers. Contact between participants is a leading cause of injury. Teach your child never to jump on top of another child, and to stay at least arm’s length away from fellow jumpers at all times.
- Don’t do any risky tricks. Children can get hurt showing off for friends and trying dangerous trampoline flips and tricks. This can lead to the child landing wrong on his or her head, neck, or limbs.
- Avoid jumping between trampolines. Trampoline parks are relatively safe environments for jumping from heights – but the frames of the trampolines are still metal. Landing between trampolines can cause serious injury from impact with the hard frame.
Look into the reviews and safety checks of a trampoline park before taking your children there to play. Tell your child to obey all of the facility’s rules at all times. Your child can jump to his or heart’s content at home or at the trampoline park without worry this summer when you follow these safety tips!