Risks involved with trampolines.
Trampolines are safe for recreational use if proper adult supervision is present, and adherence to strict safety rules is maintained – this is the opinion of most trampoline manufacturers and supporters. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) doesn`t thinks so…
According to them, trampolines, if not maintained properly, can provide big safety risk for anyone using it, especially children while playing some trampoline games on backyard trampoline.
NOTE: Just take a look at trampoline safety instructions or manual which should also include advice for proper care and maintenance of the equipment .
Rapid increase in trampoline sales during 1990`s, which is considered a decade when trampolines started to gain popularity, all without detailed safety standards to comply to, has lead to epidemic of trampoline related injuries, with total of eleven deaths.
All that lead to fact that several organizations, among them American Organization of Pediatrics, were struggling to completely ban sale of home trampolines.
However, this call to action didn`t result in banning trampolines but did resolve in improvement of safety standards for trampolines, and in 2003. new safety standards for trampoline enclosures.
Trampoline safety dos and don’ts
Let’s face it: Trampolines can look intimidating, especially when it’s your own kids who want to jump on them. However, over time I found that it’s of no use denying them this simple pleasure. Plus – it’s health for them!
At first I’d let my kids jump at their neighbors’ place, but they managed to cajole me into buying them a trampoline they can use on their own. And believe me, was is scared out of my mind! Here I was, a responsible mom of two, buying my kids what seemed like a deathtrap!
Luckily everything turned out well. Today’s trampolines are MUCH safer than they used to be and nobody I know had any accidents on their trampolines. That’s not to say accidents can’t happen. I believe they do happen, but if you follow the safety guidelines carefully, you’ll have no issues. Here’s what I feel is the key to a safe and fun experience!
One at a time
Official stats and manufacturers themselves advise against letting multiple jumpers on the trampoline at the same time. Their advice is solid. When two people jump, they can accidentally hit or land on each other. Ow! The bouncing motion itself can make it harder to predict how and where you want to bounce – so you risk completely losing control. It’s bad enough for an adult, let alone a kid!
You can imagine how difficult it was for me to convince my children that it’s unsafe to bounce around together, but I was firm on this rule and they quickly accepted that. There are plenty of trampolines in the market that provide interaction for the child away from the trampoline – some come with cool tablet games (tgoma), others have nifty basketball hoops and similar. There is also a variety of trampoline games around that you can teach your kids. Or sometimes they’ll just come off the trampoline to catch a breath. Bouncing is so exhausting!
Mind the age limit
It’s always a good idea to trust the manufacturer’s age range. If the minimum says 12 years, then it’s 12 even if doesn’t look like that to you. Maybe you’re missing something – say the bounce is too high for younger kids. It’s something you can’t notice before you buy and can prove dangerous. Always buy from reputable manufacturers that take care to mention the minimum age.
My children are a bit older, but if they were younger I’d look into a dedicated kids’ trampoline. They make them smaller and less bouncy (but still fun!). They can be stored indoors and are even cheaper than regular ones, and also come with loads of foam. It’s a good option for kids aged 4-8.
Unless your kids are gymnasts, they shouldn’t be doing flips or somersaults. My friends’ kid would do such feats I would cringe when I saw her do that, fully expecting her to break her neck. Nothing happened (I found out she’s a gymnast) but I’d never let my kids do that. Know their limits and lay down the rules.
No somersaults, no flips, no fancy bounces. Don’t be too strict – allow them to have fun, but don’t allow them to do as they please.
Keep it level
A trampoline is more stable the more legs it has, but no legs can save it if you put it on an uneven surface. We used a string trick – hammer two stakes into the ground, where the sides of the trampoline would be, and tie the string from one stake to another to check for surface slope.
If it isn’t level, move it or add extra soil to level it out. Most trampolines don’t come with adjustable legs so you’re out of luck here. Non-level trampolines can be insecure as they move during bouncing and are less stable in severe weather.
Supervise, supervise, supervise
Even though you might want to relax and pamper yourself while you’re alone, please don’t let your kids bounce unsupervised. Despite high-tech enclosures, trampolines can still be risky and you should take care.
But it doesn’t mean you have to stand right next to the trampoline. Just be around and watch for any shenanigans. You can make yourself a (soft) drink and recline in the backyard. Invite your kids’ friends and chat with their parents while they play.
Get an enclosure
An enclosure is an essential part of the trampoline and it won’t be easy to find one without it. In case you do, run away unless you’re an expert. I bought several trampolines for my family (they make great gifts) and here’s a tip for you: Try to look for trampolines where the net is right near the mat. They keep the springs outside of the enclosed area, which adds another layer of protection for your loved ones.
I hope these tips will be useful to you. Always remember to take care and if any part of trampoline bouncing makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it or opt for a smaller, kid-friendly trampoline. Don’t make a decision you’ll regret, but my experience (and most of my friends’) is that trampolines are a great way to have fun and be more active for kids… and adults to!
And if you are in two minds about which trampoline to buy, head over to protrampolines homepage and their great reviews – you just might find something you fancy!
Studies about trampoline related injuries
Evidence from all of those combined reports suggests that following factors can be identified as main cause of injury:
- More than one person on a trampoline – this is the most important factor which can be associated with injury on trampoline and main reason of trampoline accidents. So why is that? Well, calculations show that lightest person on trampoline is five times more likely to be injured. There can be multiple reasons for this – from direct collision with other jumper (10% of accidents), heavier jumper falling onto lighter jumper (broken legs, hands etc), and of course “kipping” effect. Kipping i a phenomenon where you get enhanced uplift as a result from mattress being compresses slightly before other jumper lands on the same surface, causing the mattress ans springs to be moving upwards (recoiling) in the moment when other jumper lands. It causes much greater force and momentum that jumper expected and resulting in unintended rotation or even backward somersault, which can result in serious injuries.Different studies shown different numbers so here they are – Ninewells Hospital Study (47% of injuries because of multiple users), Wotton and Harris (82% of injuries), RoSPA (75% of injuries).
- No supervision whatsoever - supervision is crucial in preventing injuries. Role of supervisor is to ensure that all safety guidelines are followed.
- Trampoline not assembled properly or on inappropriate location – loose joints, problems with padding and trampoline located near other objects can lead to serious injuries. Always follow assembly manual when setting up a trampoline and always leave at least 5 feet from other objects.
- No safety enclosure – One former research (made from 1979 – 1988) has shown that 80% of trampoline injuries occur because people fall of the trampoline. In newer studies this number is much lower, where only 22%-28% is same reason for today accidents. Still, very large number of accidents which could be avoided.
- Age of jumper – child below sex years of age. Younger children will less likely have sufficient coordination skills, skills which are crucial while jumping on trampoline, from stabilizing in mid air to control landings. Younger children have 50% more chance to get a fracture which requires surgery, when compared to general population.
- Hitting pad and springs – Study conducted in USA between 2002 – 2007 showed that alsmost 19% of accidents were caused by hitting springs or frame.
Study published in The Journal of Pediatrics:
- Younger children tended to have injuries to their arms and the majority of these were fractures or dislocations.
- Younger children also had a higher rate of facial injuries, most often lacerations.
- Older children most often injured their legs and these injuries tended to be bruises, sprains, strains and contusions.
- About 3 percent of the injuries were serious enough for the children to be admitted to the hospital.
- Head and neck injuries accounted for 12 percent of the injuries in younger children. In older children, the figure was 7 percent
Study by US Consumer Product Safety Commission:
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission states that 95,000 hospital emergency room-treated injuries in 1998 were associated with trampolines. 75 were kids under the age of 15. Then in 2002, the CPSC again estimated that 60,000 trampoline-related emergency room-treated injuries were kids between the ages of 5 and 14. Since 1990, the CPSC has received six reported deaths involving the seemingly harmless trampoline. In data from 2009. there were nearly 98,000 U.S. trampoline injuries, 0.05% of which, or about 50, caused paralysis or other permanent neurological damage, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.
According to the CPSC, most of the trampoline associated injuries were sustained at private homes. The injuries and deaths were caused by:
- Colliding with another person while jumping on the trampoline.
- Landing improperly while jumping or doing stunts on the trampoline.
- Falling or jumping off the trampoline.
- Falling on the trampoline springs or frame.
Parts of trampoline you should care most to avoid any problems with equipment! Honestly, Everything is Important!
Trampoline springs is part of trampoline which gets hit all the time. With rust or broken hooks it can be real time bomb. If any of trampoline spring is broken, weight it needed to support will be transferred on surrounding springs increasing the danger of their breakage. If you find springs like that please do not continue to use it until you replace problematic part.
Trampoline mats are another thing to be careful about. Not only you are jumping on it all the time, rain and UV rays can do pretty much damage to it. If you`ll see a part which is torn or wear do not jump on it until trampoline mat is replaced.
Trampoline Enclosure – preventing #1 injury on trampoline – falling outside! Always check if there are no cuts on enclosure!
Taking routine inspections can save you day. Those are the accidents that can be prevented but do happen only because of human mistake. In this case this is mostly laziness to do 30 second work.