Buying a trampoline is a great way to add exercise and entertainment to your kid’s daily routine. It’s one of those gifts that grows with your child, so it’s no wonder every year that about 500,000 Americans purchase a trampoline for their backyard.
Buying a trampoline is an exciting process, but it’s also one that could be a bit nerve-wracking — especially if you’ve been inundated with talk of trampoline injuries. After reading this blog, you’ll better understand how to choose a safe trampoline, how to choose the right shape and size for your needs, and how to best avoid trampoline injuries.
Are Backyard Trampolines Safe?
First, let’s take a look at the claims of trampolines being unsafe. It’s certainly true that many people are hurt every year on trampolines. A report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that trampoline injuries account for around 100,000 ER visits every year.
However, it’s important to note that trampoline injuries are seldom the result of safe play, and more the result of too many people on a trampoline at once, leading to collisions.
The next two common causes for injuries are the result of failed stunts and people falling off the structure, something we at Innovative Playtime offer a solution for with our enclosed trampolines. For a full breakdown, let’s take a look at the most common injuries and how they happen.
Common injuries on a trampoline include:
Concussions. These account for about 6% of all trampoline injuries.
Head and neck injuries. These account for about 20% of all trampoline injuries.
Broken bones. These make up a little over 32% of all trampoline injuries.
Spinal. Significantly less common, these types of trampoline injuries are usually only possible if someone attempts a stunt (front flip or back flip) and fails.
These injuries usually occur because of the following:
Multiple people colliding. Too many people on a trampoline is the leading cause of injuries.
Landing on a spring. Uncovered springs can scratch, cut, or pinch the skin.
Failed stunts. Flips, cartwheels, or somersaults are dangerous when not performed correctly.
Falling off. The force of falling to the ground can cause bone fractures (this problem is solved with a safety net).
Avoiding Trampoline Injuries
So, are backyard trampolines safe? The truth is, a top-quality trampoline is an excellent source of play for children — and it’s safe when the necessary precautions and rules are set in place. For instance, thousands of children are sent to the ER every year due to bicycle accidents, but that doesn’t mean your child can’t safely ride their bike.
We recommend encouraging your child to safely jump on a trampoline and enjoy it for what it is. It’s best to leave any overly ambitious stunt work to the professionals.
If you do this, then jumping on a trampoline will be a fun, healthy, and safe way for your children to spend their time.
Choosing a Safe Trampoline
Now, let’s take an in-depth look at how to choose a trampoline that meets all your safety requirements. Choosing a safe trampoline requires some work, but it’s not all that difficult. There are three main components contributing to trampoline safety. We’ll cover each one below.
#1 Safety Enclosure
One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a safe trampoline is to purchase one with a safety enclosure. Also referred to as a safety net, these accessories greatly reduce the chances of someone falling off the trampoline. A high-quality safety net is made of strong and soft synthetic materials. It’ll also be UV resistant to avoid burns or bruises when your children are sliding against the netting.
Three reasons your trampoline should have a safety enclosure are:
It protects them from falling off.
It protects them from burns and bruises.
It allows children the ability to spread out (helping to prevent collisions).
While an accessory, we think a trampoline safety net is a necessity for anybody wondering how to choose a safe trampoline.
The size of your trampoline — while dependent upon the space you have available — is an important yet sometimes overlooked factor in trampoline safety. When a trampoline is too small, it increases the chances of collision since there is less room for each bouncer. Below are some popular sizes for trampolines to help you better understand what may work for you:
8 feet. Ideal for tight spaces and small children. The typical max capacity for this size trampoline is 180 pounds.
10 feet. This is a pretty good size for older children and multiple people. While only 2 feet bigger, a 10-foot trampoline typically has a weight capacity of nearly double that of an 8-foot one (approximately 330 pounds).
12 feet. This is the universal size for most people. It has the same weight capacity as a 10-foot trampoline, but it’s the ideal size for multiple, active jumpers.
13 feet and above. These sizes are more commonly used for commercial trampolines, and they have a higher jumping and weight capacity.
#3 Trampoline Bed
If you purchase a high-quality trampoline, you won’t need to worry about the trampoline bed wearing out or falling apart. But just for the sake of due diligence, you want to be sure the trampoline mat is made of Permatron Polypropylene. This material is safe, UV resistant, and sewn with a UV-resistant thread. Also, be sure the V-rings that attach to the springs are galvanized to prevent rust.
Choosing a Durable Trampoline
Part of understanding how to choose a trampoline comes down to choosing a durable trampoline. Trampoline durability entails choosing the right size for your family (something we touched on in our section above and will cover in more detail below), but it also includes choosing one that’s strong enough to withstand the elements.
Ask yourself: do you want to keep your trampoline outside all year? Unless you have a large shed or garage and you don’t mind hauling it in there and storing it during the colder months, the answer is likely a yes.
Be sure you purchase a trampoline that’s manufactured to withstand sun exposure, rain, snow, and wind. At Innovative Playtime, our trampolines are designed to prevent deterioration from the sun and to prevent rust from water exposure due to rain or snow.
Choosing the Shape Of Your Trampoline
Trampolines usually come in three different shapes, including:
Typically, round and square trampolines are best suited for single users, while an oval trampoline can accommodate more bouncers. Oval and square trampolines provide a greater bouncing surface compared to a round one.
Sometimes you’ll see rectangular trampolines make the list. This shape is usually reserved for people interested in gymnastics, as they provide a very high bounce and a lot of jumping space. For families with young kids, we recommend either of the three shapes mentioned above.
How to Choose the Right Trampoline Size
Choosing the right trampoline size is important. Too large and you won’t be able to fit it in your backyard, too small and you run into some of the risks of injury we mentioned above. To help you figure out exactly what’s right for you, we’ve broken the process down into three simple questions.
#1 Who Will Be Jumping On It?
Trampoline weight limits are important. Failing to adhere to the manufacturer’s weight limitations can result in injury and a broken trampoline. If you plan to have older children and adults jumping on your trampoline as well, we recommend purchasing a 10- to 12-foot size trampoline.
#2 How Many People Will Be Using It?
How many people do you think will jump on your trampoline? One kid? Two to three jumpers? Are you the house where all the neighborhood kids will come to bounce? The number of people using your trampoline will greatly dictate the size you need to have.
At Innovative Playtime, we offer trampolines up to 13 feet in diameter. This is plenty of size for residential use, perfect for neighborhood gatherings and large families.
#3 How Much Space Do You Have In Your Backyard?
This will be the final deciding factor. Think of your trampoline as another member of your family — sometimes it needs its personal space. Trust us, if your backyard is 13 feet by 13 feet, then a 13-foot trampoline is not going to fit.
Essentially, you want to leave at least two to three feet of space on all sides. And 24 feet of vertical space. We also don’t recommend placing the trampoline too close to walls, buildings, fences, sidewalks, or other play areas. This helps keep the jumper, the trampoline, and your property safe.
Finding the best and safest trampoline doesn’t have to be that difficult if you know what to look for and where to start.