Trampolines have always been popular and with their safety nets and spring covers, they have said to become safer too.
From backyards to indoor bouncing parks to gyms, trampoline jumping is promoted as a recreational, as well as, healthy activity. Bouncing has become a lucrative business. And there are many fun things to do on a trampoline when bouncing or playing on your trampoline.
However, trampoline jumping poses a great threat of injury, especially to children. The activity has lead to sprains, fractures, and even serious head and neck injuries.
Looking at the staggering numbers of small children suffering from big injuries, doctors strongly discourage the use of trampolines at homes and parks.
Trampoline Related Injuries Among Children Are On The Rise!
As fun as trampolines are, they can be a little dangerous.
Did you know that there are about 3000 trampoline injuries that are reported each year? They are the second biggest cause of injuries on play equipment that end up in hospital treatments. Children between the ages of five and nine are the most frequently injured, however, an alarming number of injuries are also reported in children below 5 years of age.
The greater chunk of these injuries comprised of joint dislocations, bone fractures, and sprains.
Even though most injuries occur when children fall off or hit the side of the trampolines, there is also a risk of younger children getting hit by other children bouncing above.
How Do These Injuries Happen?
There are three very common ways children get hurt by trampoline jumping.
Too Many Jumpers
Majority of trampoline-related accidents happen because there are multiple kids jumping simultaneously. The most risky situation is when little children are jumping with older, heavier children. It makes the smaller participants 14 times more prone to injury.
About a fifth of trampoline spinal cord injuries happen due to multiple jumpers colliding or falling on each other.
Although some may argue that a 10ft trampoline offers ample space and flexibility for young jumpers, the more children you put on it, the greater the chance of accidents.
Falling off the Trampoline
Another common occurrence with trampoline jumping is children falling or jumping off the trampoline. Even though safety nets claim to prevent this, problems with correct installation and daily wear and tear makes them unreliable.
Impact with Frames and Springs
Even with increased use of padding on the frames and springs, the injuries haven’t gone down. A study that tested eight different brands of trampoline in Sydney, found out that all but one had major safety failures.
Stunts on the Trampoline
Children performing gymnastic stunts on the trampoline such as somersaults can accidentally land wrong while flipping. This is especially dangerous when they land on their heads or twist their necks.
What Makes Trampolines Unsafe for 2-Year-Olds and Toddlers?
Trampoline jumping is a fun activity for kids and a great form exercise too. It teaches them persistence and control and improves their motor skills and flexibility. But for parents, safety should always come first. As much as we enjoy seeing our kids jump and bounce, we need to ensure that their health is not in danger.
Kids under the age of 2 don’t have a fully developed skeletal structure. Their bones are still growing and much softer when compared to kids who are 6 years or older.
The spongy and cartilaginous nature of their bones makes them more susceptible to compression and breakage. They will get a fracture more easily if they land on their hands or legs even if the impact is not too high.
Moreover, 2-year-olds are lighter in weight and have little coordination so they are unable to control their landing so well. They are more likely to land on their arms, folded legs, hard on the back and head and neck. This makes trampoline jumping all the more risky for them.
Doctors warn against the use of trampolines among children as they are increasingly met with emergency cases of severe head and spinal injuries and even organ damage.
The Size Issue
Will getting a 12ft trampoline reduce the chances of injuries and accidents among young children? Is there another size specification that can help with this?
To cut a long story short: no. The size of the trampoline does not have much to do with its safety.
What Do Doctors Recommend?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and Orthopedic Surgeons, doctors advise parents not to allow children younger than 6 years old to use a trampoline. The fragile structure and frames of younger children are not meant to withstand repeated jumping and are more prone to injury.
More on Trampoline Safety
If your children love being on the trampoline, you should follow some important safety guidelines. These will help reduce the risk of injuries and accidents.
- Use ground level trampolines that are fixed on a level surface in an area that is free from other hazards such as trees etc. Don’t rely on safety nets.
- Never let your kids jump without adult supervision.
- Only allow one kid to jump at a time.
- Don’t allow any risky moves or stunts on the trampoline.
- Keep the trampoline’s frame, springs and landing surfaces covered with double protective pads and regularly check for any wear and tear or detachments.
Always remember that your child’s health and safety must be your number one priority. Fun and enjoyment come second. Trampoline jumping is not for toddlers!
Bec is a wife and mother of two who works part-time in the childcare industry. Bec has over 20 years in childcare and a real passion for helping children develop their motor skills. Being a busy mum, Bec is always looking for new outdoor activities to keep her and her family entertained and is a big fan of teaching children & loves experimenting with creative products, like different ranges of trampoline for outdoor games, exercise, etc.