Let’s jump into a quandary for some parents scrambling to find entertainment options for their children, who have been home likely way more than usual, considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is a trampoline a good purchase to make, to help occupy kids’ time?
OK, the mere mention of the word “trampoline” understandably makes some cringe, given the inherit risks involved.
However, there are also some rewards to a trampoline that can make entertaining kids a lot easier.
It seems more people have been willing to give trampolines a try, given the sales of trampolines, bounce houses and other outdoor toys have gone up during the pandemic, according to USA Today.
So, let’s jump (pun intended) into the pros and cons of owning a trampoline, and how to mitigate any concerns.
Benefits of a trampoline
- They can provide GREAT exercise. Studies have shown that jumping on a trampoline is not only just as effective as going on a long jog in terms of benefitting the cardiovascular system, but the positive health impacts can even go beyond that. A study in 2016 by the American Council on Exercise found that jumping on a trampoline for 19 minutes had the same physical effects as running six miles in an hour, biking, or playing football, basketball or ultimate Frisbee. That makes trampolining a terrific way to not only burn a lot of energy, but do so quicker than some other methods.
- They can be good for other physical benefits. In addition to being easier on the joints than running, which often creates hard impact on the pavement, there’s a belief that jumping on a trampoline can help someone develop good balance and coordination. [Note: This is dependent on how old your children are. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that kids younger than age 6 shouldn’t use trampolines, to cut down on injuries. Read more on the organization’s trampoline stance here.]
- They can provide a family-fun activity. Getting on a trampoline can certainly be a good way for parents to bond with kids through exercise, and it can be done in a more time-effective way than going for an extended bike ride or trail walk.
- It’s simply fun. In addition to all the physical benefits listed above, when don’t kids have a big smile on their face while jumping on a trampoline?
Negatives of a trampoline
- Jumping on a trampoline can be dangerous. A 2016 study in the journal Pediatrics said the number of emergency room visits from home trampoline injuries was roughly 90,000 in a span of five years studied. Sprained ankles and even broken bones are possible, especially when kids are so tempted to pretend to be Evil Knievel and do daring stunts and flips.
- Trampoline ownership can drive up the cost of your homeowner’s insurance, in some cases. This is especially true if you have a trampoline without protective netting on the perimeter.
- If you’re not careful, you could get sued. If you buy a trampoline, will your house turn into the most popular one in the neighborhood? That might not always be a good thing. If a neighborhood friend comes over and gets hurt, that opens up the threat of a lawsuit from another set of parents.
- A trampoline can be an annoyance for a backyard. In addition to being an eyesore if you’re into having a backyard look scenic, buying a trampoline will mean having to move it each time the grass is mowed.
Some tips to make a trampoline as safe, useful as possible:
If deciding that the rewards of a trampoline are greater than the risks, follow these tips to lessen the chance of your worst fears being realized ...
- Get a trampoline with protective netting. Even the most innocent of jumping can sometimes result in errant bounces, so having a net around the perimeter to prevent a hard fall to the ground is imperative. This might also help keep insurance companies off your back.
- Don’t allow stunts or flips. While they can be fun, trying to do flips, especially if multiple people are on the trampoline, greatly increases the risk of injury -- and a trip to a hospital. Besides, just jumping by itself is more than enough to burn off energy and fulfill the purpose of getting a trampoline.
- Allow only neighbors or friends you trust to jump on your trampoline. Having people who understand the risks or won’t take legal action against you, should there be an accident, is the only way to let other kids on your trampoline, short of actually having jumpers sign a waiver.
- Make sure the trampoline is in a clear space in the yard. Never have a trampoline under loose tree limbs or near power lines.
Have you bought or thought about buying a trampoline during the pandemic? Are there any other safety issues you’d like to mention? Let us know in the comments below.