Jumping on a trampoline is fun for kids. Trampolines, however, also pose a high risk of injury in children. Sprains, strains, broken bones, neck injuries as well as head and spine injuries can occur from jumping on, falling off or incorrect use of a trampoline. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that trampolines not be used at home, on playgrounds or at school. Even though injuries are possible, some will still not be able to resist their kids' desire for a trampoline. Implementing safety rules and knowing which type of trampolines are the safest will help keep your kids safe while jumping.
Trampolines that have a net surrounding the jumping area give extra protection by not allowing the jumper the opportunity to fall off the trampoline. Safety enclosures increase the chance of your child having a safe experience. Caution children to not purposely bounce against the enclosure. If misused, the enclosures may rip and not provide the safety they were designed for.
Trampolines with removable ladders are better than trampolines with permanent ladders. Removing the ladder when the jumpers are finished deters children from trying to jump on the trampoline unsupervised. Never leave the ladder out without appropriate adult supervision.
Trampolines that use pads to cover the springs, the hooks and the bars are safer than those that do not provide this extra protection. Pads provide protection from hitting your head and other body parts against hard metal surfaces. Over time, pads may wear out and need to be replaced.
The safest trampolines are those located on flat, open and soft surfaces. If the trampoline positioned so that it is tilted, it may unexpectedly throw the jumper and cause injury. Also, you want to avoid areas with overhead power lines, tree branches and other obstacles that may inadvertently hit the jumpers during play. Because jumpers sometimes accidentally bounce off the trampoline onto the ground, trampolines should not be placed on concrete or hard surfaces.
Placing trampolines in the ground (similar to a below-ground swimming pool), is one way to make them safer. The chance of falling from the trampoline is eliminated because it sits level with the ground. Precautions, however, should still be taken so that jumpers do not have a false sense of security when exiting the trampoline. Jumpers may be under the illusion that they will not be injured if they exit by jumping from the trampoline to the ground. While it's true the jumpers won't jump as high as they would with a standard trampoline, the overall height the jumper falls may still be great enough to cause injury.
Carri Ward has been working in the health and fitness industry since 1997. She graduated from the University of Utah in exercise and sport science and holds an NSCA-CSCS certification. She has 10 years' experience as a personal trainer. She is the founder and president of a youth-serving nonprofit organization.