Trampoline Advice Needed

Updated on September 02, 2008
S.T. asks from Castle Rock, CO
7 answers

OK, the kids are starting to wear me down about getting a trampoline. My kids are older 9, 9 and 11. I knew a guy who was a quadraplegic after a trampoline accident back when I was a child. However, the only way I would consider it is if it was buried to ground level, square shape (suppose to have a more predictable bounce?), with a net and some specific rules. They have jumped on tramps at other kid's homes without incident. I love the exercise tramps can give them (and me) as well. It might make it easier to get them to stay outside too.

So please share your experiences on safety, trampoline shape, best place to buy (must have a green or brown one for homeowners association), rules you established, how to handle neighbor kids and liability (I'll be putting a call into my legal plan), and most importantly - Did the novelty ever wear off (if so at what age)? Any other considerations I missed? Thanks in advance.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the insight! I've spent lots of time researching the types of trampolines and found out I'm going to have to spend much more money than I originally thought - quality, durability and safety will make it worth it in the long run. The tramp and netting prices that I'm considering run about $1100-$1300, so it is about 2 times more than what I thought. Alley Oop was a good brand and even had a 2 mat system to lessen impact and make a more predictable bounce. However, round tramps tend to keep you in the center of the mat which makes it a problem for multiple jumpers. Think we will ultimately go with an octagon shape (rectangular is the safest but is more for high jumping gymnastics and would not be as good for 3 kids on the tramp). You also have to look at weight limits. Many of the cheaper ones tap out in the 200s pounds which will not take your kids into their teen years if 2 or more are on it. The ones I'm considering are around 400 pounds. Never jump with anyone who weighs more than 50 pounds more than you (ideally only one jumper. The fewer pieces and parts, the better the system is. Don't skimp on the safety nets either. The other bummer is the homeowners association and the $1500 plus in trees we will need to add.

We have decided that we will not bury it, but rather get a ladder and a good safety net. Drainage, cost and future home buyers were the considerations. We will definitely have a set of rules that the kids must agree to. If they are caught violating the rules, they will be sent home (or to their rooms - my kids). Both my insurance company and my attorney advised us to have the parents sign something. So even though no one has ever asked me to sign one for my kids jumping on their tramps, I will (afterall I'm a legal service broker so it only makes sense!). Will probably add a lock system to the netting to keep kids out when we are not around. My kid's doctor said he thinks tramps are OK as long as there are safety precautions and rules. No flips unless you are trained and definitely recommends one kid jumping at a time.

Jump Sport has some great game kits - bungee cords in different patterns to increase coordination and body awareness plus there is a basketball hoop and a bounce board. Figure this will keep the kids occupied without doing the craziness. I do have one kid that is very daring and already does flips. He will only be able to do them when he is on it by himself and a parent is out supervising him to make sure he is doing it safely.

Trampolines provide numerous health benefits and conditioning for sports, so I intend to use it as exercise as well. Maybe it will help tighten up some inside muscles that were trashed by the kids - most of you probably know what I mean!!!

Am I still a bit nervous about safety? Sure. But as one person pointed out, kids are killed on bikes, skiing, scooters and skateboards (as well as being a passenger in a car) every year. Apparently, many of the contact sports football, hockey and even sometimes basketball result in devastating injuries. My son broke his hand this spring on playground equipment at a kid's night out. Definitely think it is safer than what I see those kids doing without any protective gear at the skate parks. Also, as they move into the pre-teen years, I'd like something to keep them closer to home, off the TV and computer, and getting outside for good exercise.

Good luck!

More Answers



answers from Denver on

My husband's brother broke his neck on a trampoline at age 17. He did NOT fall off; he broke it when he did a flip, landed on the wrong part of his head, and separated his spinal cord. He was a quad. after that, had to use a catheter to urinate (which caused him to get UTI's all the time)and had all the other issues associated with being paralyzed. He went to college and lived independently in a dorm room, and then he got sick. Because he didn't have the stomach muscles to take care of phlegm and vomit, he asphyxiated in his dorm room. They found him because of the odor coming from under his door.

I know this is a gruesome story but I wanted to let you know that having a net does not guarantee a child's safety. Ellis landed on the tramp but still broke his neck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Trampoline injuries aren't only from falling off the tramp. They also come from landing wrong, and from banging into other participants.

My pediatrician couldn't be more adamant that this is a big "no". The problem is, the potential injuries (neck/spine/paralysis) or so much greater than other sports' injuries. Talk to your ped. Good luck!



answers from Denver on

We bought one for our kids a few years ago for all the reasons you mentioned. We bought a round one. I actually haven't seen a rectangular one in years, but I'm sure they are still out there. We did put ours in at ground level which was a big pain but I do think is much safer. The only incident we had was before we dug the pit, and it was merely someone who was walking (not even jumping!) that fell off and landed in a nearby bush. She was a little scraped up. Our neighbors, who do not have theirs' ground level and no net, had a girl fall off and ended up with a bad arm break. As for rules, we always insist on parental permission for friends before the initial time they jump. When I was growing up, some of our neighbors' parents insisted on written permission. I would definitely make sure it's ok with parents either way, in case of an accident. We do allow more than one kid to be on the tramp, but only one can jump at a time. Double jumping can cause one of the jumpers to fly very high up if they land simultaneously, and they may not land where they should. But if they have some games such as crack the egg, then several children sitting on the tramp seems fine. On the plus side, it does give them another option for exercise- and yes, Mom as well! And the novelty definitely wears off, probably more with how long you own it than any particular age. My son doesn't use it at all any more, but both my girls get on it occasionally. Oh, and another thing you have to think about with rules is whether you want them to do flips, which is where many of the neck injuries happen. And, of course, no one can jump when Mom an Dad are not home!
Good luck with your decision, and have fun with it if you get it!



answers from Denver on

We have a trampoline. We bought it last summer. Our children use it daily if weather allows. They absolutely love it and have had a blast. Certain safety must be taken: one jumper at a time, no flipping, safety net. I've known many myself through the years since my childhood who own/have owned them and I've never come across any injuries. We've had a lot of great family fun with husband and I have used it, too! Here's the thing, everything has it's chance for accidents. According to stats that I've read, it's in line as the 12th highest cause of accidents with many sports (basketball, football, etc.) having a higher accident rate. Of course, that's just one report...anyone can find any report with results they desire to read, so I don't know what the truth really is. Here's the thing, a close friend of mine died in a car accident when she was 12, my aunt died in a car accident leaving a husband and 2 year old child behind, another friend was in a head on accident at 18 and had to have her spleen removed, another friend's dad was killed in an accident and my husband and I pulled a man from a fire started by something defective about his car...he survived with 53% of his body covered by 2nd and 3rd degree burns. Do I still drive? I plan to allow my children to drive one day? Yes.



answers from Denver on

We had a trampoline when we had our house and it was great. Our dog even jumped on it. However I had rules too - especially when the neighbor kids came over. We had the huge one so I never allowed more than 2 jumping at a time. No flips and such. If they didn't follow the rules they didn't jump. You can also get the net that goes around it for extra protection too. The novelty didn't wear off actually - they were 9 and 7 when we got it and they really liked it. I think the hardest part was when the neighbor kids came over because they didn't listen and normally I would have to be the bad guy and send them home..

Hope that helps,



answers from Denver on

I have a friend that is a nurse in the O.R. at Parker Hospital and she said that when there is a major injury to a youngster it is most often the result of a backyard trampoline. She will not let her kids have or use one. When I was a kid I took trampoline lessons and we jumped one at a time, in a harness and with multiple spotters around the tramp. While there is no doubt that it is fun and great exercise there is a lot of risk involved. That's my 2 cents!



answers from Denver on

We've had a trampoline for the last five years with no incidents. It is a 12 foot round one with a net that is above ground. I initially was very nervous as you were about injuries and liability but they were unfounded. At first I did require that kids had their parent's permission (my husband nixed the legal paperwork) but the longer you have one, you kind of forget that kind of stuff. Depending on the age and sex of the kids on the tramp (boys tend to be more rambuncious) I have a limit of how many can be on at one time. My kids are now 8 and 10 and we've had kids from all over both neighborhoods we've lived at with no broken anything. Occassionally kids will bump into each other or flying arms will hit someone else but nothing more than that. Just set ground rules from the very beginning and make sure that they are followed. No more than 3 at a time with the little kids, restrict the acrobatics and you should be fine. It is great exercise and the kids still love it. Good luck.

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