The Dangers of Buying a Trampoline for Your Kids

Home trampolines are a common cause of injuries.

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Home trampolines are popular with children and you often see them in the backyards of many family homes. Unfortunately, like ATVs and BB guns, they can also be dangerous, especially if safety precautions are ignored.

Dangers of Buying a Trampoline

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and American Academy of Pediatrics, in 2014, there were 104,691 hospital emergency room-treated injuries associated with trampolines, mostly in young children and teens.

Many trampoline injuries occur when:

  • Two or more people on the trampoline collide together
  • Someone lands on a trampoline spring or the frame of the trampoline
  • A person who is jumping or doing stunts lands wrong
  • Someone falls off the trampoline
  • Someone jumps off the trampoline
  • Children use home trampolines

And tragically, since 2000, there have been at least a dozen deaths related to trampoline use.

How Trampoline Injuries Happen

As jumping on trampolines has become a more popular recreational activity in recent years, researchers have been hard at work to study who is getting hurt while playing on a trampoline and why. Studies suggest that kids are more likely to be hospitalized from accidents at a trampoline park than on a home trampoline, but injuries can be serious in both settings.

Sprains and fractures are more common at trampoline parks, but head injuries are more likely to happen on home trampolines. Kids are more likely to be hurt while bouncing on the trampoline—colliding with someone or bouncing awkwardly—than falling off the trampoline.

Home Trampoline Buying Advice

To help avoid injuries from trampolines, you should follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which strongly discourages their use and urges families not to make trampolines a part of outdoor playgrounds or play equipment.

Keep in mind that even in a supervised training program, children under age 6 years should not use trampolines. So the basic advice for a parent that is considering buying a home trampoline is that you may want to reconsider, given these safety concerns.

Trampoline Safety

If you must have a home trampoline, you should:

  • Allow only one person to jump on the trampoline at the same time
  • Encourage users to jump in the center of the trampoline mat
  • Not attempt or allow kids to do somersaults, because if they land on their head or neck, it can cause paralysis
  • Make sure that the springs, hooks, and frame of the trampoline are completely covered by shock-absorbing pads
  • Not allow kids under 6 years of age to use a full-size trampoline
  • Make sure kids have adult supervision when they are trampolining to make sure they follow safety rules and in case they get hurt
  • Use a trampoline enclosure, which can help prevent kids from falling off the trampoline, but won't prevent other injuries and may provide a false sense of security for parents
  • Place the trampoline in a well-lit area, at ground level, away from any structures with which children could collide if they fall off, including trees, walls, fences, etc.
  • Make sure your trampoline is anchored to the ground and that the ground is flat
  • Install an impact-absorbing safety surface material around the trampoline, such as wood chips, sand, or mulch. Concrete is not a good protective surfacing material if your child falls off the trampoline.

It is also important to regularly check the trampoline to make sure that it is in good working condition and that it hasn't been involved in a safety recall. Keep in mind a trampoline's padding and enclosure net will likely last longer than the frame and mat and will need to be replaced at some point during the life of the trampoline.

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Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. CPSC Safety Alert: Trampoline safety. Published May 20, 2015.

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Trampolines: What you need to know. Updated April 5, 2013.

  3. Alulema P, Rasmussen E. Lawsuits show pattern of injuries at popular trampoline parks. Boston 25 News. November 28, 2018.

  4. Tileston K, Raney EM. Trampolines can cause serious injuries; use should be discouraged. AAP News. September 10, 2019.

  5. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Trampolines and trampoline safety: Position statement. Updated September 2015.

  6. Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Trampoline safety in childhood and adolescencePediatrics. 2012;130(4):774-779. doi:10.1542/peds.2012-2082

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