To Buy a Backyard Trampoline; The Big Question
Trampolines have been given a lot of bad press in the past few decades. Yet they still remain a very popular form of recreation and exercise for families around the world. So, are trampolines dangerous?
Some people decide to just give in to the constant pleading of their young ones and exercise safety precautions. While others, hear some statistics that look daunting and they then vow on their mother’s grave that they would NEVER own one. They are tons of fun until somebody gets hurt [breaks and arm…or worse], so they say…
What Do the Statistics Say?
If you are a family formulating your guidelines for whether or not to invest in a trampoline around the American Association of Pediatrics, then I’ll tell you right now-they are against it. Injuries are quite common with trampoline usage. The lower portion of the body is the most likely place to sustain injury.
One study revealed that the lower portion of the body is the most likely place to incur injury. One study revealed that 60% of those injured were injured on the ankle– ¾ of ankle injuries were sprains. 24%-30% were in the upper appendices and 60% of those were fractures. Of course, the scariest are an injury to the head and neck making up approximately 10-17% of the accidents. Both upper body injuries (extremities and head/neck) are most commonly caused by falling off of the trampoline altogether.
Let’s not forget, that you need to be aware of your insurance company’s terms around having a trampoline in your backyard also. Some companies will not cover trampoline-related accidents. Other’s will with a rider on your policy. Be sure to check your policy to see what it outlines.
What are the Safety Recommendations
The AAP states that if a family decides to have a trampoline anyway, there are some basic rules to follow that should be adhered to each and every time the trampoline is used:
- There should be an adult supervising children at all times
- Children under 6 should not be jumping with older, heavier kids-small ones can not take the bigger rebound that older children and adults make and this can cause injury in little ones
- Only one jumper on the trampoline at a time
- No somersaults or flips
- Enclosure netting around the mat to prevent falls
- Protective padding on the trampoline to cover metal springs and rim
- Check all equipment often to make sure that nothing has shifted and all protective padding is in good condition
- When damaged, protective padding, the net enclosure, and any other parts should be repaired or replaced
So there you have it. The bad news. And there is no getting around it. Trampolines can be dangerous as most things can that are worthwhile.
Is There Any Value to owning a Trampoline?
Lots! We really think so. There is risk involved in just about every activity that you can think of that is enjoyable and recreational for a family to do. Injuries happen every day. Our perspective is that it helps to be aware of your surroundings. Do thorough research. Follow safety guidelines, and then don’t sit on the sidelines of life just because “something could happen”.
Even with a helmet, children are hurt every day from biking accidents. Swimming is terribly dangerous; 10 deaths per day in unintentional drowning accidents according to the CDC. Boating related drowning (think water skiing) is close to 332 persons per year! Just about every sport you can name has its own set of scary statistics.
And bounce houses are no different. They may seem softer or less apt to cause injury, but if one child falls upon the other-broken bones ensue. Studies show that many of the same injuries that are common with trampolines are common with bounce houses. What is a parent to do???
Each day, you watch your children languishing before their gaming console or tv after homework (like we did). They are together, but they are not being active with their bodies or breathing fresh air and squealing with joy for the benefit of their lungs. And then you think of the other statistics: childhood obesity and the link to developing diabetes over time. According to the CDC, we are looking at 1 in 5 children in the school-aged years are obese. We need to get them outside for their health, not to mention for fun!
So which statistics are the worse? You tell me.
Clear cut Benefits
- Time together in the Great Outdoors!
- Wonderful exercise for children and parents alike.
- A backyard trampoline pays for itself in just a few trips to the trampoline park.
- Fun for the whole family and friends too!
- Great for a backyard activity during family parties.
- Play, play, and play
We love that our kids have developed amazing balance and core strength from playing on a trampoline. Our kids not only get exercise, but they have developed lots of coordination too!
We love that our children enjoy being at home. Our biggest investment has been our home, and we love it that our kids enjoy being there. They rarely mope around the house acting bored to death and wishing that they were anyplace but there. This is important to our family and a big benefit to us.
The Bottom Line
We have a tendency, because we love them so much, to not allow our kids to play at anything that we view as risky. And it is understandable. But I think that we sometimes forget how it was when we were kids. We forget that the play that we found most enjoyable, appealing, and valuable were the very things that came with an element of risk involved. Have you ever wondered if our kids are paying the price as we have erred on the side of overprotection sometimes?
I once read an essay written by someone who was writing about the “Death of the Seesaw”. Every playground that I played on in my childhood had a seesaw and usually a kid-propelled carousel. They are non-existent on playgrounds today. And I kind of miss them. I wish my kids had the opportunity to play with some of the things that I did as a child.
We might be safer, but I think that ultimately we are the poorer for it. Especially because anything can happen as soon as you choose to walk out your front door.
Let me know in the comments if you found this article helpful.