Directly from the Professionals:
According to a Failure Analysis Associates Inc., study of comparative risks in childhood sports and everyday activities, more injuries happen in the center of a trampoline than when someone bounces off and lands on the ground.
The risk of an injury requiring hospitalization from riding a bike is triple that of using a trampoline.
“You’re several times more likely to wind up in the hospital from riding a bicycle than from bouncing on a trampoline, but they haven’t suggested not riding bicycles.
They do look like they’re a lot of fun, but they’re not toys. And I do think that a lot of parents and families look at them as a toy, the same as a swing set would be or a play house in the back yard.”
Derek Hanson, former Head Coach of the University of Calgary Tumbling Team, believes trampolines are good for kids but he says if parents are going to buy one, they should take a course in trampoline safety first.
“Kids get hurt on trampolines”, he says, “for one of two reasons, I think. There’s obviously different exceptions. One is just more than one person on a trampoline. That’s the number one rule that we teach. The other type of injury, I feel, is kids doing things that are above their skill level. Their friend can do a flip so they’re going to try one without knowing the progressions. And I believe that’s when they get hurt.”
Hanson teaches kids those progressions, starting with bouncing while staying in the middle of the trampoline, then moving up to the different jumps and landing positions.
“So,” he says, “those are all the basics that I would teach a child. And if they can’t do all of those, I would not even begin the progressions for any kind of somersaulting skill where they would be flipping over their head at all.”
Since this study was completed 4 years ago, one of the main factors leading to injury is when more than one child is on the trampoline at a time.
“If a child is on a trampoline with other users, especially if the other users are heavier than the child, as the other individuals come down and recoil back up, if the child at that very moment is coming down and their body meets this trampoline mat coming up with great velocity, there’ll be a tremendous amount of energy transferred to that child’s foot and ankle and leg. And that’s a setup for injury.