Trampolines: Fun or Folly?

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Children's Hospital Los Angeles RN Remedies Gloria Verret

When I think about trampolines I get a little nostalgic. I remember my grade school physical education (P.E.) days when the “traveling trampoline” came to our school. I absolutely adored it! It felt like I was flying. The whole class stood around the frame as “spotters” eagerly waiting their turn on the trampoline. I also remember when a schoolmate’s family installed one in their backyard and I was so jealous. When I had a child of my own, I bought one for our backyard. It had a safety net all around it, but in the back of my mind I was nervous. I had one absolute rule—one person on the trampoline at a time. My daughter is grown and we made it through her childhood without any injuries. I think I was lucky to have a quiet daughter who followed my rules.

Trampoline SafetyIn an earlier blog, I talked about safety concerns with bounce house safety and briefly mentioned trampolines. After I wrote the bounce house post, I decided to look closer at trampolines and safety. Continue reading to learn about safety concerns and tips, which the Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles helped provide.

Trampoline Risks

As a mom, I feel lucky we didn't’ experience trampoline injuries when we had one in the backyard. I was stern on my rules because I wanted to avoid risks and injury. The main risks associated with trampolines include:

  • Installing a trampoline on uneven ground
  • Falling off the trampoline or attempting flips. This is the largest risk because it can result in head, back and neck injury.  17 percent of all injuries are head or neck injuries. Some injuries can result in permanent damage.
  • Netting around the trampoline does not fully reduce the risk due to incorrect installation, maintenance and kids sometimes hang on the netting.
  • Injury from hitting the trampoline frame and springs
  • Jumpers of different size and weight. If there are two jumpers, a younger or smaller jumper can be catapulted higher and not have the strength or skill to land safely.
  • Inexperienced adult supervision. Many injuries happen when adults are supervising, which means adults don’t fully know how to prevent trampoline injuries. Keep reading to learn how!

Please Note: If your child complains of neck pain after falling from a trampoline, they need immediate medical attention. 

Trampoline Safety Tips 

If you’re a trampoline enthusiast or plan to install one in your yard, consider these safety tips from our experts in our Injury Prevention Program.

  • More than one adult supervising. Even if there is a net, a responsible adult should be supervising your trampoline with adult spotters stationed around it.
  • One jumper at a time
  • Children under age five should not be using your trampoline
  • Discourage somersaulting, flipping or any horseplay
  • Protective padding on and around your trampoline that is in good condition
  • Ensure your trampoline is level or at ground level with no hazards around (e.g. trees or buildings).
  • Inspect your trampoline frequently. If there are trampoline parts that are not replaceable, worn or damaged, discard your trampoline.
  • Check your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure it covers trampoline use. If your child is using another family’s trampoline, ask the parents if their insurance covers their trampoline.
  • Remove ladders to the trampoline to avoid curious young children from climbing on and jumping.
  • Do not allow children to bounce off the trampoline. Encourage them to walk to the edge and get down safely.

Please Note: If you take your child to a commercial trampoline park, keep these same safety rules in mind.

Since trampolines began being used as tumbling devices in 1945, safety has become more important. For example, in 2009 more than 97,000 trampoline injuries occurred in the U.S. with three percent resulting in hospitalizations. With these safety tips, we can keep injury rates low and our kids happy and healthy. Please share this blog post with friends and family, especially those who own and use trampolines.