What comes to mind when you think of a trampoline? Do you think of the rush of bouncing on the rubber and the feeling of the wind in your hair? Do you recall the sensation of temporary flight when you jump up and down on the trampoline’s surface and the undeniable feeling of exuberance and freedom you used to feel?
Trampolines are a lot of fun and can be a good source of exercise, but they should be used with great caution. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages recreational trampoline usage, warning the major injury risks that the activity has for users, especially children.
While the trampoline was invented in 1945 by competitive gymnast George Nissen for acrobats, gymnasts, and military training, the recreational use of the modern trampoline has increased in recent decades. This increased usage has caused a number of injuries in children. In 2009, 70 out of 100,000 children ages 0 to 4 and 160 out of 100,000 children ages 5 through 14 were injured on a trampoline, totaling to whopping 98,000 injuries in the year.
Still want a trampoline for yourself, your friends, or your family? Follow the 5 safety tips below to make sure that you and yours are safe!
Take Turns Jumping – We might have killed your sense of fun in telling you that only one person at a time should be permitted to jump, but you’ll thank us! Three out of four of all trampoline injuries happen because several children jump on the trampoline at the same time. The smaller children are also 14 times more likely to get hurt than their older, heavier counterparts as well. Play it safe – allow only one person to jump on the trampoline at a time!
Save the Stunts for the Professionals – Using a trampoline improperly can result in many different injuries, hospitalization, and though it’s relatively rare, it can also result in death. Remember, this is not American Ninja Warrior or the latest Jackie Chan movie! Do the activity the trampoline was solely meant for – jumping! Refrain from performing somersaults or flips while on the trampoline as it can cause injury and great injury to your spinal cord as well. Additionally, encourage children to get off the trampoline safely by walking to the edge, sitting, and safely sliding off.
Supervise Others on Trampoline – While supervision won’t totally prevent all trampoline mishaps, it can most certainly help nip most of them in the bud. When others are jumping, be sure to act as a spotter of sorts for the person jumping. In case something does go wrong, you’ll be able to act much more quickly if you’re supervising! Additionally, to prevent younger children from getting on without supervision, be sure to not leave a ladder or a chair nearby to help them get up without your assistance.
Make Sure Conditions Are Prime for Jumping – Not just any location or weather will do for trampoline jumping. For the safest options, place the trampoline on soft, energy-absorbing ground or a soft and springy lawn. Make sure that the trampoline is placed on a clear, flat area of land with no potential hazards like fences, bushes, trees, or other equipment around. Never put a trampoline on the concrete, asphalt, or any other hard surface, and never ever allow children to jump on a wet trampoline!
Prepare for Any Potential Falls Accordingly – Falling off the trampoline accounts for up to 40 percent of all trampoline injuries, especially when the device is placed on uneven ground. Make sure that you have an 8 foot radius of clear ground around the trampoline, and consider having a safety net in place if possible. It might not prevent injuries, but it could prevent them from becoming serious injuries.
While the AAP strongly recommends avoiding all recreational trampoline use, you can still use the trampoline if you also employ the appropriate supervision, coaching, and safety measures!
Got questions about trampoline usage? Want to check if your insurance covers trampoline-related injury claims? Call us today at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com! We’ll sit down and help you with all of your insurance needs!