Children enjoy trampolines but they can be dangerous. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that every year over 90,000 injuries associated with trampolines are treated in hospital emergency rooms. These injuries include broken bones, head and spine injuries, sprains, bruises and cuts. There have been deaths associated with these injuries.
Because of these dangers, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that you not have a trampoline at home.
If you decide to have a home trampoline, avoid injury by following these safety rules:
- If possible, put the trampoline in a pit which lowers the height to ground level
- Allow only one person on the trampoline at a time
- Always supervise children when they jump on the trampoline
- No child under the age of 6 should use a full-size trampoline
- Do not use a ladder with the trampoline because it provides unsupervised access by small children
- Do not allow somersaults or horseplay because landing on the head or neck can cause paralysis
- Place a safety net around the trampoline. These enclosures can help prevent injuries from falls off the trampoline but should not be depended on to prevent accidents
- Ensure that shock-absorbing pads completely cover the springs, hooks and frame
- Place the trampoline away from structures, fences, trees and play areas where other children congregate
- Inspect the trampoline often for broken, disconnected or missing parts
Adult supervision is no guarantee that a child will be safe on a trampoline. The injury rate is highest for children younger than 6 years of age. Neck injuries usually happen when children try to do flips and land on their head or neck instead of their feet. Every year many children are paralyzed for life from a trampoline injury.
Almost 75 percent of injuries result when more than one person is on the trampoline at the same time. When two people use the trampoline, the person weighing less is five times more likely to be injured than the heavier person.
Spotters can help prevent injuries. Spotters should be strong enough to protect the jumper if he/she should get too close to the edge. Spotters are especially important when your child has friends over to jump. Remind everyone to stay in the center of the trampoline when jumping.
Set rules for using the trampoline and make sure everyone understands and follows the rules. Teach your child to remind his friends about the rules each time they jump.