A trampoline is a device used for recreational, gymnastic, and fitness activities. It’s made with thick mesh fabric stretched over a circular frame. The fabric is attached by springs, and this allows you to jump and bounce on top.
Jumping on a trampoline can be fun for kids and adults alike. It also increases your heart rate and involves muscle strength, so it doubles as a form of exercise. That’s why rebounding has become so popular.
The activity can be dangerous, though. It poses a high risk of injury to your:
It’s especially unsafe for younger children, who are more likely to get hurt while jumping.
If you choose to use a trampoline, be sure to follow specific safety guidelines. Trampoline jumping can be relatively safe if you stick to certain rules. Keep reading for tips that can help keep you safe.
Trampoline jumping isn’t appropriate for people of every age. Here are the safety precautions for each age group.
Small children, including toddlers, should never use a trampoline. They have a higher risk of getting injured due to their small size.
Kids ages 6 and older can jump on a full-sized trampoline. But they still need adult supervision, especially if they’re younger than 10 years old.
Children between ages 5 and 9 are more likely to get fractures because their bones are still soft. Older kids have a greater chance of getting strains or sprains.
Teens and adults
When used properly, trampolines are safe for teens and adults. Still, it’s best to use caution, especially if you have a chronic disease or recent injuries.
In 2012 policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reviewed the data and research on trampoline safety. The organization concluded that trampolines pose a high risk of severe injury.
The AAP also stated that trampolines should be approached with the same caution as swimming pools.
According to the statement, the AAP discourages the use of trampolines. This includes mini and full-sized outdoor trampolines at home, at parks, or in gym classes.
If you decide to buy a trampoline, it’s important to follow safety guidelines. Make sure your entire family is aware of these rules.
- Ask your child’s pediatrician if it’s safe for your child to use a trampoline. Consider any medical conditions your child has.
- Set up the trampoline at ground level. Make sure the ground is even.
- Place the trampoline on a soft surface, like grass. Never place a trampoline on concrete unless you have a layer of safety mats around the trampoline.
- Install the trampoline away from trees, fences, or other structures.
- Make sure to remove any leaves, water, or other debris from the trampoline before jumping.
- Cover the trampoline’s frame, spring, and hooks with protective safety pads.
- Install a safety net around the trampoline.
- Check the trampoline for tears and broken fixtures before every use. Look for holes in the netting and landing surfaces.
- Make sure the springs and bolts are properly in place before using.
- Replace any damaged fixtures, padding, and netting before using the trampoline.
- Remove objects underneath the trampoline.
- Before jumping, remove any jewelry, hats, or items in your pockets.
- Remove your socks and shoes, which increase your risk of slipping.
- Wear athletic clothing. Avoid wearing clothes with embellishments or big buttons.
- Always supervise children when they use a trampoline. Adults should act as spotters for the jumper.
- Allow only one person on the trampoline at a time.
- Never allow children ages 6 and under to jump on a trampoline.
- Never let children do somersaults or flips. Stop them if they jump too high or uncontrollably.
- Always jump in the center of the trampoline and avoid jumping along the edge.
- Never jump off a trampoline. Tell children to stop jumping, walk to the edge, sit down, and slide off.
- After using a trampoline, remove any ladders to make sure children can’t access it.
- Check your homeowner’s insurance to see whether trampoline injuries are covered, especially if other people’s children will be using your trampoline.
Many types of injuries can occur on a trampoline. Injuries can happen when you or your child:
- lands wrong while jumping, flipping, or twisting
- attempts stunts
- crashes into another jumper
- lands on the frame or springs
- falls or jumps off, especially on a hard surface
It’s worth noting that injuries can happen even with adult supervision.
Possible trampoline injuries include the following:
A burn may occur when your skin rubs across the rough mesh fabric. The rubbing causes a lot friction, and it can create enough heat to damage the skin. This is called a friction burn and is like a rug burn.
Depending on the severity, a friction burn can cause symptoms like:
- removal of the top layer of skin
Using a trampoline can also cause skin injuries like cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
This type of injury can happen when trying to flip on a trampoline. In some cases, the damage may be permanent.
Jumping on a trampoline can lead to arm sprains and fractures. In fact, approximately 60 percent of fractures due to a trampoline occur in the upper extremities.
If you land wrong or fall off a trampoline, you can sprain or fracture your leg. About 36 percent of trampoline-related fractures affect the lower extremities.
Flipping on a trampoline can also cause a neck injury. This is usually more serious than arm or leg injuries because it involves your spine.
Possible neck injuries include:
In severe cases, neck injuries can lead to paralysis or death.
Trampoline jumping poses the risk of brain or head injuries, such as:
Brain injuries often happen due to falls or crashing into another jumper. Serious accidents can result in paralysis or death.
Children and adolescents have growth plates at the ends of their long bones. Growth plates are cartilage discs that help these bones grow.
Physical trauma, like fractures, can damage a growth plate. This can cause stunted growth because the bones stop growing earlier.
Trampoline jumping is a common cause of fractures in kids. This means the activity increases the risk of growth plate injuries and delayed physical growth.
Before you or your kids hop on a trampoline, consider the pros and cons.
Trampoline jumping advantages include:
- fun for all ages
- form of physical activity
- improves balance and coordination
- increases cardiovascular fitness
- tones muscles
Despite the benefits, jumping on a trampoline also has disadvantages:
- increases risk of burns, cuts, and scrapes
- increases risk of injuries, including fractures and concussions
- may promote stunted growth in children
- only one person can jump at a time
- requires constant adult supervision
If your child has a trampoline accident, tell them to stop jumping. Check the injury and call their pediatrician immediately. Older kids and adults should follow the same guidelines.
In an emergency
Get emergency help if your child has any of the following symptoms:
If your child has a minor injury, like a burn or bruise, you may be able to treat it at home. Apply ice, elevate the injury, and make sure they get some rest.
Minor injuries should get better within a few days. You should contact your child’s doctor if they have:
- burns, cuts, or bruises that don’t heal
- persisting or increasing pain
- difficulty moving the injured area
- confusion or strange behavior
- new or persisting headache
Although jumping on a trampoline is a fun form of exercise, it poses a high risk of injury. It’s generally recommended that you avoid using one. This includes mini and full-sized trampolines at home, parks, or gyms.
Children ages 6 or under should never jump on a trampoline. Older kids and adults can safely use one if they follow certain safety precautions.
If you decide to buy a trampoline, be sure to enforce the rules. Kids should always be supervised by adults. If your child has an accident, get medical help immediately.