Trampolines for kids: safe or insane?
Most kids love to jump on a trampoline and many parents like them because they can provide a lot of exercise via a small amount of yard or floor space. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that trampolines should never be used in homes, yards or playgrounds. The AAP supports the limited use of trampolines in supervised training programs only, like in a gymnastics class.
But Mary Davis disagrees. She has had a trampoline in her Waukesha backyard for her three kids for 11 years, and has never had a problem with it. She says as long as kids abide by strict safety rules, there is no reason why parents should fear trampolines.
"You have to have a net around it for one thing. That's the most important feature," says Davis. "And only one kid is allowed to jump on it at a time."
Davis says almost all trampoline injuries occur when a child bounces off of the device onto the ground or when two kids smash their heads together.
The AAP agrees with Davis and says that if parents choose to buy a trampoline despite the risks, they should install a safety net around the trampoline and pads to cover the springs, hooks and frame.
Bridget Cyrus has had a trampoline for her 10-year-old son for five years. She believes the net – along with respect for the sport – prevents injuries.
"We believe the enclosure has helped with the safety issue. Like with any sport, parents should be there to teach, encourage and advise. Once you know your kids respect the trampoline then you can relax a bit," she says.
The AAP also reminds owners to check their equipment for tears and detachments and to place the trampoline on level ground away from trees and other structures. Sommersaults and other "tricks" should be prohibited and very young children should never be allowed on one.
Holly Jefferson has had a trampoline in her backyard for four years.
"Is it safe?" she says. "Of course not. I just don't look. That's my policy or else I'd take it down for sure."
Although the AAP discourages smaller, indoor trampolines, too, the risk of injury is far less. It's recommended that parents buy a small trampoline that does not fold up because they are safer.
Stacy LaPoint bought a small, indoor trampoline for her 9-year-old son recently, and recognizes there's some risk, but believes there is far greater risk in other things.
"I think it's worth the risk of injury because supposedly the most common reason for broken bones are falls off bunk beds so I figure what's the worst that could happen," she says. "You just need enough space so they don't hit something hard if they fall like a table, chair or wall."
A small, 38-inch trampoline sells between $30 and $50. Large, 12- or 13-foot trampolines usually come with a safety net and sell between $250 and $400.
According to customer reviews on Amazon.com, about 90 percent of the reviews are favorable, although the non-favorable reviews are quite harsh and contain stories of minor-to-serious injuries. Like most aspects of parenting, adults have to weigh out the pros and cons of trampoline ownership based on the needs and desires of their children and go from there.
"Life is dangerous. Trampolines, with rules, are not," says Davis. "Let's let kids have fun."
My name is Katherine and Im the communications manager for Springfree Trampoline -- the world's safest trampoline. This topic is something Im very passionate about yes, we want to sell trampolines but we are doing it because we want to keep kids out of the hospital. I wrote a blog post discussing some of the points from your article http://springfreetrampoline.com.au/blog/2436/our-response-spring-based-trampolines-safe-or-insane/ and I thought you might like to take a look. I also think its necessary to address some of the quotes in your article. Over 100,000 kids are sent to hospital every year due to trampoline-related injury from a backyard toy. If any other toy were to cause this amount of injury it would be recalled without question. The reality is the trampoline industry isnt regulated. Currently there are few mandatory trampoline standards, meaning manufacturers have no obligation to ensure minimum levels of quality and safety. Any feedback is greatly appreciated! You can check out our discussion on Facebook at www.facebook.com/springfree. Cheers, Kat
My buddies and I used to set up a mini tramp (C. 1992) in front of a basketball hoop and use it to dunk. White men can jump, they just need a mini tramp. Dangerous, but a blast.
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