Children’s Trampoline Safety
Your children are very active and love to bounce. You're ready to put one in the backyard to keep them and their friends having fun in an environment you can control. Before you buy one, there are some safety precautions you need to consider. Trampolines can be fun for children. However, injuries have soared over the past decade as this outdoor activity has become more popular. About 245,000 children go to the emergency room every year because of injuries sustained from trampolines. That's why it’s essential to know these tips for childrens’ trampoline safety.
1. Wait Until They Are Old Enough
About 15 percent of emergency room injuries are children under the age of six. Children under six years old should not use a trampoline. They have not developed the coordination and balance required to avoid potentially life-threatening injuries from falling off.
The most common areas for injuries include the legs and feet, arms and hands, and head, face, and neck. There are small, portable trampolines that are safe for toddlers, but there are still some risks. Make sure you do your research before buying one for them. The best age for bouncing is around age seven or eight, once children have good motor skills and coordination.
2. Supervise Them at All Times
It might be an invitation for fun, but you can't let your children go near the trampoline without supervision. They need to know that an adult is always watching them before taking their first bounce. With younger children, make sure another adult is nearby and paying close attention.
Although it's not common, serious injuries, including death, are possible with a trampoline. Fatal accidents are most typical between the ages of 12 to 19, and commonly occur when the teenager is attempting a somersault and lands on his or her head, breaking their neck. You can't prevent all injuries, but you can reduce the risk with proper supervision. It's also critical to ensure that your children don't go on the trampoline when they're tired since fatigue can cause them to lose focus.
3. Invest in Safety Equipment
Trampolines lead to more severe injuries than any other piece of playground equipment. To help reduce the risk, invest in a full-body trampoline safety pad covering springs and frame parts. This step will keep your children from bouncing out of the trampoline and getting limbs caught in springs or injuries from falling on the frame.
Another option is a trampoline safety net around the jumping surface, designed to keep the user from bouncing off the trampoline. Also, ensure that it's secured to the ground to prevent it from moving while in use.
4. Give Them a Lot of Room
Give your children at least three feet of personal space around the trampoline. When jumping, their arms and legs can extend past the safety pad. It's also ideal for clearing away surrounding hazards. Never place the equipment near electrical wires. This situation can be hazardous. Always check the area for toys and other items that can put the user at risk.
For added safety, put soft padding on the ground under the trampoline. Make sure there aren't any rocks or other hard objects nearby that might cause broken bones if the jumper lands on them.
5. Don't Use the Trampoline During Inclement Weather
Never allow your children to use the trampoline in windy, stormy weather. These conditions might make it difficult for them to stay on, and they could get seriously injured, even with a trampoline safety net. It's best to stay off the trampoline when it's particularly wet and rainy.
Instead, wait until the weather clears up before letting them take their next bounce. Also, while bouncing in the winter might sound fun, it's not recommended. Snow and ice can make the trampoline very slippery for your children to jump on safely.
6. Check for Damage
Always inspect the trampoline before each use. Make sure that the frame is not bent or cracked and that there are no sharp edges on springs or connections. Check the padding for rips, tears, and other damage.
If anything looks broken or worn, don't let your children go onto it until you have repaired the damage. Common problems include popping pads, stretched springs, worn-out mats, and rusting parts. Depending on how much use it gets, you'll need to replace the cushion every two to three years, springs every four to five years, and other components less or more frequently.
As your children bounce, it's essential to listen for noise that could indicate loose springs or mat sections. If you hear any strange noises coming from the trampoline, it's a sign that something is wrong, and you should stop using it immediately.
When buying a trampoline for older children, note that the trampoline's weight limit is probably lower than what they could weigh. You are responsible for ensuring that they do not exceed the weight limit. If you're unsure, check with the manufacturer for specifics.
7. Know How to Trampoline Safely
Before using a trampoline, it's essential for the user to know how to jump safely. Give the child pointers, such as when they land, instruct them to keep their knees slightly bent to prevent injuries. Suggest that they keep their feet shoulder-width apart and that they try not to shift or rotate their body. Their arms should always be at their sides until they land. Although it sounds like fun, tell them never to close their eyes. They need to see where they are landing. Also, pay attention to how many children are on it at a time. Never exceed the recommended number.
It might seem like a lot to think about, but proper trampoline safety precautions can help your children avoid serious injuries. Talk about avoiding common mistakes and encourage them to follow your rules. If you have a trampoline in your backyard or are considering buying one, use these tips for keeping it safe and fun.