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Are trampolines safe for kids? According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), they are not if adequate safety measures are not taken. While trampolines are very popular among kids, they are dangerous and can cause serious injuries, especially to kids below 6 years.
As trampolines are known to encourage physical activity, improve cardiovascular fitness, increases balance and coordination, and help with motor development, parents often do not mind purchasing one for their kids. Apart from homes, trampolines can now also be easily found in public parks.
But do the benefits outweigh the severe risks highlighted by the experts? As a parent, it is up to you to make that decision. Kids have been using them for several years, and it is only in the last few years that trampoline safety has become a cause of concern.
In order to make the right decision, it is necessary for you to first understand the risks associated with trampoline usage and the ways in which they can be minimized. Take a look-
Backyard play equipment such as a trampoline is not advisable for kids without the right safety precautions as they pose a very high risk of injuries which can sometimes be very severe. According to studies, more than 100,000 cases of trampoline injuries are recorded in the USA every year, and the majority of the victims are kids below 16 years.
While sprained ankle is the most common trampoline-related injury, dislocations and broken bones are also witnessed on a regular basis.
Friction burns can also occur when your child’s skin gets rubbed on the mesh fabric of the trampoline, which is generally very rough. This rubbing causes friction which creates heat and damages the skin. Depending on the severity of the burn, it could result in symptoms such as pain, swelling, redness, and removal of the skin’s upper layer.
If you’ve been looking for are trampolines safe for kids, you might have understood the common risks associated with them. Now that you know why trampolines are not safe for kids, you should also know about how the injuries generally occur. The AAP has identified a few common reasons for these trampoline-related injuries. Here are some of them-
One of the most common reasons which cause injuries is due to kids falling from the trampoline while jumping and playing. Most parents install trampoline nets to avoid this problem. But a common reason for such falls is not selecting the right trampoline for your child. You can now find a wide range of backyard trampolines, and the selection has a significant impact on your child’s safety.
Also, if the trampoline comes with a net or you purchase it additionally, it will only enhance the safety of your child if it is of good quality and correctly installed. Do check the warranty of the product and replace it as soon as any sign of damage is noticed.
As much as 75% of the trampoline injuries occur when multiple kids are jumping on it simultaneously. The risks are significantly higher for small kids who are jumping along with kids that are older and heavier.
According to a study, in such cases, the smaller kids are as much as 14 times more likely to get injured. If you want your child to play on the trampoline, make sure he/she does so individually and not in pairs or groups.
If your child loves jumping on the trampoline, he/she might also love to do a variety of stunts like backflips and somersaults while playing on it. Failure to perform such stunts correctly is another common reason that could result in trampoline injuries.
Trampoline or not, parents should strongly discourage their kids from doing such risky stunts as they can result in severe injuries as the stunts require the use of the cervical spine. If your child is interested in learning such stunts, do follow the correct steps on how to backflip on a trampoline.
The impact when a kid falls on the trampoline’s frame, spring, or mat can also result in injuries. It is often recommended that thick padding should be placed on these parts of the trampoline. The use of padding significantly reduces the chances of such injuries.
Inferior quality of the padding is a common reason why it might not provide the safety results you expect. Also, the padding wears out too soon, especially when the trampoline is used on a regular basis. So, you should replace them regularly, especially if they are damaged or won out.
Are trampolines safe? No, especially when there are not adequate precautions taken. But what if you already have a trampoline and would like to let your child use it? What if your child is fixated on the purchase?
In such cases, it is wise to take preventive measures. Now that you know about the dangers, you should also know about the different ways in which you can easily enhance the safety of your child when he/she is playing on a trampoline. Take a look-
One of the simplest ways to prevent serious trampoline injuries is to place it close to the ground level. The higher the trampoline surface is, the riskier the injury can be. Also, ensure that the trampoline is placed at a considerable distance from objects like trees or fences.
While safety pads and nets are not 100% solution to prevent trampoline injuries, they do improve the safety of your child by a significant extent. Many of the trampolines now come with a net and pads included.
If the one you have or planning to purchase doesn’t, do consider purchasing them additionally. Always prefer purchasing good quality trampoline pads and nets.
Never let your child use the trampoline unsupervised. At least one adult should be close to the trampoline working as a spotter. A simple way to ensure this is to detach the trampoline ladder so that your child cannot access it when an adult is not around for supervision.
Regular trampoline maintenance is one of the most effective ways to prevent trampoline injuries. Every time your child gets on to the trampoline, you should ensure that the springs, supporting bars, and the surrounding area are adequately covered and safe.
You should also regularly check the trampoline for detachments, tears, and deterioration, especially the pads and nets. Replace them as quickly as you see any signs of deterioration.
You should strictly discourage your child from performing any stunts like somersaults on the trampoline. Such stunts should only be performed under the guidance of a professional instructor and with the correct protective equipment, like a harness.
Ensure that only one child uses the trampoline at a time. Never allow kids below 6 years to use the trampoline.
Some other safety tips are as follows-
If you’ve been searching for answers to are trampolines safe, this article might have provided all the information you need.
While trampolines are fun and an excellent physical activity for kids and their motor development, it is highly recommended that they should only be used with precaution. They can cause severe injuries if adequate safety measures are not taken. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your child.
Especially, if you have a child below 6 years, you should be very careful with the purchase and know how to select the right trampoline. There are several important factors such as the age of your child, build quality, trampoline size, garden shape, etc., that should be considered before making a buying decision.
So, while it is not wrong to let your child play on a trampoline, do follow the safety precautions discussed above. Actively supervise your child on the trampoline and get instant medical help in case if anything untoward occurs. Last but not least, invest in a quality backyard trampoline from a reputable brand.
The better the quality of the trampoline, the higher will be the level of safety it will offer. Also, don’t forget to check whether the trampoline comes with a safety net and padding. Prefer a model that includes these safety accessories so that you don’t have to purchase them additionally.