Trampolines are rebounding as the must-have backyard accessory. Back in the day, trampolines had the reputation as too dangerous for even insurance companies to cover, and they lost favor among parents. Today, trampolines are springing back, thanks to new designs that make them safer than ever. Jumping on a trampoline is not just fun for kids, it is great exercise and a way to develop coordination and athletic skills. In fact, just 10 minutes of jumping on a trampoline is equivalent to a 30 minute run. Still, trampolines have their perils. The likelihood of a severe head injury is higher on a trampoline than in a car crash, and each year over 105,000 kids are sent to hospital because of trampolines. These statistics mostly owe to either misuse or old-style trampoline equipment. Proper enjoyment of a trampoline includes one participant jumping at a time. So much for those trampoline parks, where kids go wild -- which is why many of these parks have waivers requiring parents to sign away all liability. The most common other reasons for trampoline injuries are collisions with hard parts, such as springs, which are the main mechanism for bounce on a traditional trampoline. Many manufacturers are building safer trampolines. One company, Springfree Trampoline, touts their product as the world’s safest trampoline, thanks to its unique design that eliminates 90 percent of the impact areas on traditional trampolines. Instead of springs, a metal frame and rigid enclosure, the Springfree trampoline uses fiber-glass rods, a soft-edge and flexible enclosure. Springfree was created by an engineer and father of three, Dr. Keith Alexander, following 14 years of injury-prevention research, and has been recognized by The Parents’ Choice Foundation as the safest trampoline and received several awards, including the U.S. Children’s Product of the Year Award, the Family Choice Award, and Recommended Children’s Toy Award. Even with a safe design, children can still get injured using a trampoline, so the following precautions are recommended: • One jumper only - butting heads with another jumper could result in serious injury • No flips - most trampoline injuries result from landing on the head or neck • No other objects - Empty your pockets before jumping and do not play with balls or other toys on the trampoline • Supervise - prevent horseplay by watching children at all times • Stay clear - do not allow children to go underneath the trampoline or lean on the enclosure • Safe clearance - locate the trampoline away from walls, trees, etc. • Secure it - lock the enclosure when not in use to prevent unauthorized jumpers With safe practices, jumping on a trampoline is terrific full-body exercise for the whole family, on at a time of course.
More from health