Do trampoline tricks and trampoline risks have to go together? Perhaps. But you can take steps to make it safer.
The infamous trampoline. Kids love them. They elicit squeals of delight. They're exciting. They help keep you fit. And they're one of the most controversial backyard accessories. Why? Because there's a big problem with the trampoline: risks of serious injury are bubbling just under the surface of all that fun.
A study led by Dr. Randall T. Loder, through the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine, found there were more than one million trampoline-related emergency room visits between 2002 and 2011.
Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding backyard trampolines altogether, even stating that "failed attempts at somersaults and flips frequently cause cervical spine injuries, resulting in permanent and devastating consequences."
10 Terrifying Trampoline Risks and What You Can Do About Them
Kids want to run and play, and it's good for them to do so. Clearly, there are plenty of risks with almost any activity. You can twist an ankle playing soccer or fall from a skateboard and break your arm. So why are trampolines so different?
It's not the frequency of injuries as much as it is the severity of injuries that makes a trampoline so dangerous. Anyone who's been on a bike can tell you a story about a scraped knee or a fall into a rose bush. Trampolines, on the other hand, are more likely to send you flying into a ten-foot drop onto hard ground or catch you in a spring and snap an ankle.
What can you do? Here are ten ways you can help your kids (and yourself) avoid common trampoline risks:
1. Bounce one at a time
Multiple bouncers can easily bump into one another or bounce a smaller child off the trampoline and into the springs or onto the ground. One at time may be tough, but it's worth the wait and it's a great way to reduce the chance of an injury. According to Popular Science, "three-quarters of all trampoline injuries happen when multiple people are on board."
2. Save the flips
It's hard to control your momentum if you aren't trained in the ways of the trampoline. Over or under spinning on a flip can cause you to land on your head. There are far too many stories about children ending up paralyzed from failed attempts at trampoline flips. It's just not worth the risk.
3. Supervise, supervise, supervise
Younger children need supervision, but older children do, too. The temptation to jump into danger (see tips one and two) are just too enticing. Grab an ice tea, set up a lawn chair, and spend some quality time watching your children have fun.
4. No kids allowed
We're kidding. Sort of. The American Academy of Pediatrics points out that children under the age of six are most prone to trampoline injuries, including broken bones, concussions, and head and neck injuries.
5. Use safety nets
Just don't count on them. Adding a safety net around a trampoline can help limit the chances of flying off the trampoline and landing on the ground. What it doesn't do, however, is keep you from landing on the frame or springs of the trampoline, both of which can cause significant injuries.
6. Check the springs
Speaking of springs, be sure to check them regularly. Springs can get rusty. They can break or come unhooked. They can wear out. Any of those situations can lead to an unsafe trampoline.
7. Cover the springs
Covering your trampoline springs and frame with a safety pad can mitigate some of the injuries from falling, but these pads wear out quickly. Check them regularly and replace them as soon as the padding begins to erode.
8. Jump in the center
Teach your kids to stay in the center of the trampoline when they jump. The closer they are to the center, the further away they are from the edge where they can accidentally bounce off the trampoline.
9. Stay away from trees
Actually, stay away from trees, lampposts, flag poles, or any other structure that could cause injuries if you or your child jump into them.
10. Keep it clear
Don't store anything under the trampoline and don't let kids play underneath it when someone is using it.
Yes, this seems like a lot to keep up with. No, following these tips won't completely eliminate any chance of falling or getting injured on a trampoline. The goal is to understand the risks and understand how to limit the potential for serious injuries. That doesn't mean you can't have fun.
One other thing you can do to take care of your home is to make sure you have the homeowners insurance you need. Get in touch with your Pekin Insurance agent today to make sure your future is taken care of.