The idea of trampolines was conceived many years ago by the Inuit who would toss each other up and down on a walrus skin. The first modern trampoline was built in 1936 and was used for competition. From there, competitive trampolines were adapted to be used recreationally. Now days, trampolines can be found in many families’ backyards.
Although competitive trampolines were adapted to be used recreationally, many safety features were not transferred. Competitive trampolines are equipped with spotters and foam surrounding the trampoline in the event of an unintentional accident. Recreational trampolines are most often placed in the backyard with no safety equipment or supervision.
According to the US Product Safety Commission, in 2001, 91,870 hospital emergency room visits were associated with trampolines. 93% of victims were under 15 years of age and most of the injuries occurred at private homes. Injury and death were caused by colliding with another user, landing improperly while performing stunts, falling off the trampoline, or falling on the trampoline springs or frame.
Safe Kids Grand Forks wants trampoline owners to remain safe but still have fun. Before using the trampoline, find an appropriate spot for it. 10 feet of grass should surround the trampoline on all sides and there should be open sky for 20 feet above the trampoline. Moreover, a safety net should be installed to keep children from falling off the trampoline and a pad should be placed over the springs. Set ground rules with children. Do not allow somersaults or flips because landing on the head or neck could cause paralysis. Many injuries occur when there is more than one jumper. The disparity in weight often causes the injuries to occur. It is recommended that only one person jump at a time.
Trampolines are a great source of exercise but need to be used with caution. Competent adult supervision and instruction is needed for children at all times. Watching your children is an opportunity to correct inappropriate behavior or praise good behavior. It is not recommended to allow children younger than 6 on a trampoline. Limit trampoline activity and condone unsupervised jumping.
Enjoy your backyard trampoline with peace of mind and safety for your family.