Children love trampolines. Entire indoor facilities have sprung up to offer kids (and even adults) opportunities to jump in any weather. Families buy trampolines of all sizes, including smaller ones for in-home use by toddlers and large ones that take up half of the back yard.
As much as kids love trampolines, they can also be very dangerous. Did you know that roughly 246,875 children get hurt badly enough each year from jumping on trampolines that they need to go to the hospital? That does not count injuries that are minor and don't warrant an emergency room visit. Three out of four children who get hurt are under 15 years old.
Trampoline accidents can even turn fatal. These accidents typically involve older children, from 12 to 19 years old, and the main causes of death are landing on one's neck and falling entirely off of the trampoline.
The following safety tips can help to prevent these accidents:
1. Provide adult supervision.
Kids should not jump alone. Adults can act as spotters to help catch children before they fall, and they may also be able to stop risky behavior before it leads to an accident.
2. Consider an in-ground trampoline.
Since falling off of a trampoline is one of the leading causes of death, using an in-ground trampoline can help reduce the risks. Children still fall off, of course, but having the jumping surface level with the ground means they do not have as far to fall.
3. Do not let very young children use the trampoline.
Ideally, anyone on the trampoline should be at least five years old. Younger children may feel left out, but they are often in more danger due to their small size and more limited physical abilities.
4. Ban risky activities, such as flips.
Not long after getting the hang of jumping straight up and down, many children decide they want to try doing flips. This can lead to another major cause of deadly accidents -- landing on one's neck. Never allow these activities.
5. Keep multiple children from jumping at once.
The best course of action is simply to have kids take turns. When only one child jumps at one time, it reduces the odds of a collision and helps to keep them under control.
6. Use a safe design.
A trampoline is much safer with a net around it to catch kids who may otherwise bounce off the edge. Furthermore, trampolines should always be set up on soft ground. Crash pads should be used to pad hard surfaces.
Even if you do all of these things at home, how safe are your children at trampoline parks and playgrounds? How about at other people's houses? If negligence leads to a serious injury, make sure you know your legal rights.