Safety Tips for Backyard Trampolines
As summer approaches, trampolines are springing up as play equipment in back yards across Canada. School aged children love them. Jumping is exhilarating – and it looks easy.
With concerns of today’s children not being active as they should, their enthusiasm for the sport is encouraging. Trampolining offers excellent aerobic exercise and general physical fitness.
But is it safe? According to the Canada Safety Council, backyard trampolining can be an enjoyable and healthy activity for children as long as a few precautions are in place. That is the focus for this year’s National Summer Safety Week (May 1 to 7).
“Parents need to make sure the equipment is safe and establish a few basic rules,” says Canada Safety Council president Jack Smith. “Share with your kids the mindset that getting hurt is no fun, so it’s important to be safe.”
The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario says it sees about 50 trampoline-related injuries a year; other children’s hospitals report similar numbers. The injuries range from broken arms to lifelong paralysis. Children in the 5 to 14 age range are most likely to injure themselves on a trampoline. The injured children may have landed badly after trying a flip or stunt, crashed into another child on the trampoline, or jumped or fallen off the trampoline. In most cases, there was no parental supervision at the time of the incident.
According to Mr. Smith, such mishaps are predictable and can be prevented by taking a few simple, common sense measures.
First, make sure the equipment is safe. While Canada does not regulate trampolines, you should look for one that meets ASTM requirements. Set it up away from structures, trees or other play areas. Give it a quick inspection every time the kids use it. Make sure the shock absorbing pads cover the springs, hooks and frame, the springs and leg braces are secure, and the bed and frame are not damaged in any way.
The Canada Safety Council recommends that children should be six years old before they are allowed to use a trampoline. Do not use a ladder or any other device that would provide access by small children.
Then, set three non-negotiable rules for the kids when they use the trampoline:
One person at a time.
No flips or somersaults.
Don’t jump onto or off of the trampoline.
Finally, make sure an adult is always around to supervise.