When you have people jumping high up in the air, then it can be just as dangerous as riding a bike, driving a car, playing contact sports, or swimming in a pool. Accidents can happen when using a trampoline.
This is especially true if you buy a shoddy product, as it can break down while people are using it. And even the best equipment in the world won’t be safe if you don’t assemble it properly.
And even after buying a safe trampoline and assembling it correctly, you can still end up with an accident when you don’t comply with the safety recommendations.
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So Just How Dangerous Is It?
In 2006, a Consumer Product Safety review caused an estimated 109,522 injuries. A National Electronic Injury Surveillance System study reported 98,000 trampoline-related incidents reported each year. In 2009, more than 3,100 people had a bouncing accident serious enough to warrant a visit to the hospital.
The main danger with a trampoline is that people can fall wrong, and that can lead to bruises, cuts, sprains, broken bones, In some rare cases, even paralysis and death have occurred.
In fact, it is second only to football as the sport that causes the most number of cases of permanent paralysis.
Since 1977, it has been the official position of the American Academy of Pediatrics to discourage the recreational use of trampolines.
On the other hand, it must be admitted that these statistics don’t tell the whole story. It may be more illuminating to compare these accident figures with other popular activities. For example, biking has proven to be a more dangerous activity.
According to the CDC, in 2013 bicycle-related injuries accounted for about 494,000 visits to emergency rooms in the US.
What’s more tragic is that more than 900 bicyclists were killed during this one year. In contrast, SpineUniverse.com reports six trampoline-related deaths since 1990.
American football is another sport that causes numerous accidents and injuries. According to a National Institute of Health article, 1.5 million young men play football in the US, and every year an estimated 1.2 million football injuries are sustained.
No one is calling for the end of high school football (Texas might secede if that happens), but the rate of catastrophic football head injuries for high school players is three times that of college players.
What Can Go Wrong?
Several things can go wrong when people use a trampoline. People can land wrong, especially when they do stunts like somersaults and flips. They can strike other people when jumping on a trampoline at the same time. People can land on the springs, frame, or even fall off the trampoline.
One case involved a 9-year old girl who was sitting on a trampoline when it was struck by a strong gust of wind.
It sent her flying for more than 150 feet. She was taken to a local hospital and airlifted to ta Salt Lake City Hospital, but she died of her injuries.
Common Sense Rules Regarding Safety
So aside from avoiding a trampoline (and biking, and playing football), what you can do is to observe and follow the rules regarding safety.
Here are some guidelines to help you out:
Buy only from reputable manufacturers
Before you buy, do your research. Take note of the reviews regarding equipment that breaks down.
If you read about too many of these things about a particular model, it’s better to be safe and to avoid buying that.
And then when you do get one, make sure you assemble it properly by tightening all the bolts and fastening the nets.
Make sure you have the right safety accessories
First, that means you have pads covering the frame, the springs, and the hooks. These are the hard parts that must be cushioned so that the impact can be minimized.
This also means getting a safety net when you’re buying for outdoor use. It’s a good idea to pick only the ones that already come with a safety net.
For smaller indoor units, it’s often enough to have a handle for children to hold on to.
Be a grownup
Always act responsibly, and don’t drink and jump. Only let one person jump at a time, and never let a child use it without adult supervision.
Forbid any stunts or flips, unless there’s an experienced coach to supervise this kind of training.
Place the trampoline on soft ground
That’s better than putting it on a cement floor.
Make sure the trampoline is tried down securely
The wind can blow it off while you’re using it.
Using a trampoline can be fun, as long as you stay safe. Follow the guidelines, and you can dramatically reduce the risk. So stay safe and have fun!