Most kids would love to have the chance to test out their acrobatic skills on a backyard trampoline. Unfortunately, they often overestimate their abilities, and the result can sometimes be a painful and costly trip to the Emergency Room. That doesn’t mean that you should avoid buying a trampoline, however. What it does mean is that you need to drill into your kids the correct ways to safely use your trampoline.
Of course, you can help improve your kids’ safety when you buy your trampoline. When you look at your various purchase options, it is always wise to think “safety first.” You also need to consider where you are going to place your trampoline. Owning a trampoline does not need to mean that you are creating a huge worry for yourself. You simply need to be well prepared and have a clear set of rules for your kids to follow.
1. Ensure That You Have a Level Space to Set Your Trampoline Up and Clear Space Around It
Go Configure will professionally assemble your trampoline for you. However, for safe operation, you need to find a place where our team can set up the trampoline on level ground with a safe fall zone of at least eight feet surrounding it. Jumpers are more likely to fly astray and have difficult landings when using an unlevel trampoline.
It is important for safety reasons that you keep the area around the trampoline clear. The last thing you need is for a flying kid to jump off and land on a stray tree branch. Kids sometimes try to push themselves to their limit when jumping, so make sure that you haven’t set the trampoline up beneath low hanging trees or similar obstructions.
You can help your kids’ safety by installing the trampoline on the same type of surface you would a swing set, for instance, bark or mulch. This will cushion some of the impact.
2. Set Up Your Trampoline in a Secure Space to Discourage Unauthorized Use
You need to have control of who is using your trampoline at all times. You will not be able to do this if you position your trampoline in some obscure part of your backyard that nobody can see. Keep it in the sight of your kitchen window or at least somewhere you will easily notice if somebody is using it.
3. Use Pads and, if Suitable, Nets on Your Trampoline
There are many different types of trampolines on the market. The traditional rectangular trampoline with exposed springs is well suited to competition trampolining with experienced participants. However, there are better options to provide home-based fun for the kids. Many people prefer round trampolines now because the bounce is stabler and less erratic. Whichever type you prefer, it makes sense to invest a few dollars more on safety mats to cover up the springs and edges. Too many kids lose their balance and land on, or fall through, hard exposed springs.
It is also common nowadays for people to buy round trampolines that are surrounded by safety netting. Although these cannot totally save determined overenthusiastic jumpers from injury, they are particularly useful for younger, less experienced trampolinists.
4. Remind Kids That Nets are to Stop You Falling Off the Tramp – Not to Bounce Off
The nets may save a kid from being bounced off the trampoline, but they cannot help avoid all accidents. Kids often like to deliberately bounce themselves off the net on one side of the tramp into the net on the other side. It does not take too much of this activity before your nets begin to show strain, and eventually, holes begin to appear. Likewise, a trampoline with nets, but no pads, can still cause nasty accidents if a kid ends up landing on the springs or the edge. Pads and nets work together to help reduce injury.
5. Keep the Area Underneath Your Trampoline Clear
It can be surprising just how low a trampoline floor drops when people bounce on it. You do not want it to snag on something that is lying below the trampoline. This includes people. Stress to your kids that the area beneath the trampoline is not a secret play area.
6. Supervise Your Kids When They Use the Trampoline
One danger of surrounding your trampoline with netting is that parents get a false sense of security. Accidents can still happen on trampolines with netting, so it is important that you supervise your children even on these netted trampolines. Kids are kids. If there is no adult present, kids are more likely to experiment with unsafe jumps.
7. Insist on Only One Person Using the Trampoline at a Time
I know that kids like to play together and compete. The problem is that the number one reason for trampoline accidents is kids crashing into each other. It is far safer to discourage kids from jumping together. The risk is particularly high for the lighter child, who is five more times likely to come out of a mid-air crash with injuries than the heavier child.
If you feel there is a need to have more than one person on the trampoline at one time, at least make sure that they are of even weight.
8. Have a “No Pets” Rule for the Trampoline
Similarly, if your kids have their pets bouncing on the trampoline, there is a greater likelihood that the kids and the pets crash together, potentially leading to injury for either or both. Pets may become frightened and scratch your trampoline mat or pads as they try to escape.
9. Have a Stable Ladder For Users to Enter and Exit the Trampoline
You need to encourage your kids to use a sturdy ladder to both enter and exit the trampoline. Quite a few injuries have occurred when kids have decided to jump in or out of the trampoline.
If you have young children, however, it is a good idea to remove the ladder when the trampoline if not in use, and to discourage them from climbing onto it when you are not looking.
10. Only Use the Trampoline When it is Dry
Your trampoline is likely to become slippery if the surface is wet. There is a danger that the kids’ jumps go astray if the surface is damp and that they lose their balance and slip, possibly completely off the trampoline.
11. Encourage Your Kids to Learn Fundamental Jumping and Bouncing Skills Before Trying Advanced Jumps
Kids often try to push themselves beyond their capabilities. You want them jumping safely and landing correctly. Train them how to keep control at all stages of their jump. It is important that they do not stretch themselves beyond their capabilities. If you have the opportunity, position the trampoline at a low height while your kids are learning their jumping and landing skills.
The first skill for your young trampolinists to learn is to flex their knees as their feet come in contact with the trampoline mat.
Have a look in your local area to see if there are any trampolining classes offered that will teach your kids these essential skills.
12. Discourage Inexperienced Jumpers From Flipping or Trying Jumping Tricks
Kids may love to perform somersaults, backflips, and other whacky jumps, but unless they are experienced jumpers, there is a real danger that they will land awkwardly and painfully. We discourage such activity from young and inexperienced jumpers, and indeed older kids who like to show off to their friends. There is a real danger that a kid attempting a somersault or flip will mistime and end up landing on his / her head or neck, potentially causing serious injury.
You may need to emphasize to your kids that they should not attempt to copy every stunt they see on YouTube.
13. Encourage Kids to Jump Near the Center of the Trampoline
If your kids aim to land in the center of the trampoline, they are likely to avoid injury. It is the safest place, with the least risk of an accident. A child who lands on the edge of a trampoline has a far higher risk of hitting the springs or falling off completely.
14. Do Not Permit Pre-Schoolers on the Trampoline
Although young kids like jumping on a trampoline, full-size trampolines are not safe for preschoolers. Young kids do not have the physical coordination to successfully master jumping and bouncing without damaging themselves.
15. Jumpers Should Wear Appropriate Clothing and Remove Potentially Dangerous Jewellery
There have been some nasty accidents on trampolines and other play and sporting devices, caused by jewelry or loose clothing. Imagine if your child jumps high and then catches a ring he is wearing on a pole holding up the trampoline netting. His young body will still continue to drop, thanks to gravity, at the same time that the ring finger remains stuck. It’s not a pretty thought!
Similarly, if your child has a sharp item in his pocket which he lands on, the results are likely to be very painful.
Even some items of clothing can cause problems if they get caught up. It is a good idea to avoid clothing with drawstrings, for instance, which can easily become snagged.
Trampolines can provide many hours of immense fun. However, you do need to ensure that you and your family use them in a safe and responsible manner to avoid the happiness quickly turning to tears.