What screams wholesome outdoor fun more than a trampoline? Unless you were abused as a child by an evil clown wearing a trampoline for a costume, it’s difficult to dislike trampolines. Everyone and I mean everyone, can’t resist jumping and playing on a trampoline. People of all ages, from children and teens to adults and even your grandparents (if they still have their good knees and hips), think of trampolines as a way to bond and enjoy the fresh air. You get to have fun, take in some sun and release pent up energy. It’s easy to forget that trampolines are not toys, and can quickly become dangerous.
One would think that trampolines are safe, and they generally are, I’m not denying that. However, trampolines are also one of the most common reasons why people are rushed to the emergency room. Here are a few statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Over 100,000 trampoline-related injuries are recorded every year. For the period between 2002 and 2011, over 1 million trampoline incidents and injuries that necessitated medical treatment were reported.
- Over 30,000 trampoline-related injuries that included broken bones are reported every year.
- 9 out of 10 trampoline-related bone fractures are suffered by children and teenagers under 16.
- 3 out of 4 trampoline-related injuries happened when more than one person was using the trampoline.
- Children under the age of 5 are more likely to get injured while playing on a trampoline.
- Over 500 injuries caused by playing on a trampoline result in permanent disabilities every year.
These statistics, while extremely alarming, are not intended to scare you. I just want to impress on you the notion that trampolines are a common source of injuries, and can be dangerous if not used properly. While nothing can claim to be 100% safe, concerned parents and doctors have warned that trampolines are too dangerous for unsupervised and unrestricted play.
However, I will tell you that trampolines can be safe if proper safety procedures are followed. Most sports can become dangerous, but that doesn’t stop us from doing them. There are many trampolines for sale available in the market, with many safety features included. If you are thinking of getting a trampoline or already own one, then you must know that safety should come before enjoyment.
Here are a few trampoline safety tips to get you started.
- Check before use
Always check the trampoline is in good condition before letting anyone on the jumping mat. The springs must be in their correct position, and free of rust or fraying and bending. Check if the bolts and screws are tight and not easily removed. Do a few test jumps on the jumping mat to ensure proper bounce. Do a visual inspection of the surface for any signs of wear and tear like rips and fraying thread. Do not let anyone on the trampoline if it fails any of the tests.
- Ensure proper placement
One of the best ways to keep the trampoline safe is to plan out its location and position. Do not place the trampoline near hazards like lamp posts, trees, walls, fences and poles. A person on the trampoline, especially without a safety net, can fall out and hit or get impaled on these objects. Maintain a hazard-free space clearance of at least 10 to 15 ft around the trampoline. Similarly, do not place the trampoline under a tree.
Make sure the trampoline is positioned on a level, stable but not hard surface. Do not place the trampoline on a concrete or gravel surface. If you are unable to place mats around the trampoline, you can use sand, mulch or lawn chips instead.
- Check the people
Imagine yourself as the TSA of trampolines. No one comes in without being searched and frisked. Anyone, regardless of age, must be checked for dangerous objects before entering the trampoline. Their pockets must be empty and do not let them bring toys into the trampoline. Remove watches and jewellery as these can fall off and possibly damage the trampoline or injure the people inside it.
- Always keep an eye
Never let the trampoline out of your sight when there are children playing in it. If you must leave, designate a responsible teen or adult to keep an eye while you are away. Always supervise their play so you can arrest risky behaviours before someone gets hurt.