The trampoline is a backyard fixture for many American families; however, their popularity doesn’t mean that they’re completely safe. For parents that are considering giving in to the begging, pleading and bargaining from their kids by getting them a trampoline, here are a few things to think about.
- Proper Placement – Though avoiding buildings and low-hanging tree branches is a given, it’s important to note that a child can jump up to 10 feet or more into the air with the aid of a trampoline. It’s best to place the trampoline in an area completely free of obstacles, even high ones.
- Cover All Metal Fixtures – Springs, hooks and metal framing should all be covered with a specially-designed foam pad to prevent pinching, scratching and injury from impact with the frame. Some trampolines come with this padding, but you still want to make sure that it fits securely before turning the little ones loose.
- One Jumper at a Time – Most injuries sustained while using a trampoline result from two jumpers colliding; one of the best ways to keep kids as safe as possible is to insist on only one jumper at a time.
- No Acrobatics – Unless your child is a trained gymnast with trampoline experience, he or she should be instructed never to attempt somersaults or other acrobatics, especially if there is no adult present. Even if your child does have gymnastic training, they should still never practice at home without a spotter.
- Install a Net – Though nets designed to contain jumpers will almost always prevent their hitting the ground, it won’t prevent all injuries. Opting for the containing net will, however, make a difference, and will often reduce the severity of injuries greatly.
- No Jumping Without Supervision – One of the most important – and most frequently broken – trampoline rules is that children should never be allowed to use a trampoline without adult supervision. Though it’s certainly not convenient to drop everything in order to supervise a trampoline marathon, it is very important and should be an ironclad rule for when kids use the trampoline.
- Daylight Hours Only – As the sun goes down, visibility is reduced and the chances of a trampoline-induced injury rise. Kids should never be allowed to jump after dusk.
- Keep Your Homeowners Insurance Up-to-Date – Having a trampoline is likely to make your house a favorite destination for neighborhood children. While this might be great fun for your kids, it can lead to serious headaches if your insurance policy isn’t up-to-date and a child is injured on your property.
- Stay On Top of Maintenance – At the first sign of fraying fabric, rusting springs or other wear and tear, the trampoline needs to be decommissioned until it’s back in top shape. These aren’t just cosmetic concerns; they’re signs of compromised structure in an already-risky toy.
- Go Overboard – Shock absorbing materials for the ground surrounding your trampoline may seem like an overprotective safety measure, but they can significantly reduce the severity of any injuries sustained from a fall.
It’s not uncommon for parents to be vigilant about trampoline safety for the first few months, but then to gradually become more lax as time passes. Unfortunately, that’s when injuries are more likely to happen: after the rules become more lenient. It’s best to stay vigilant and insist on all safety rules being followed to the letter all of the time.
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