Children love to jump on the trampoline, and trampoline jumping is popular among them as a great outdoor activity. Besides providing them with endless hours of fun, it also allows them to get some much-needed physical exercise.
Although a fun activity, is trampoline jumping safe for kids? This is a question that’s on several parents’ minds. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages the use of trampoline in home settings as the activity poses a high risk of sprains and fractures (1).
However, if you choose to keep a trampoline at home, you should take safety precautions to ensure it doesn’t pose harm to your child. When used safely and under your supervision, it could benefit your child in many ways
Read this post as we tell you the right age to introduce trampoline jumping to your child and apprise you of the benefits and disadvantages of trampolines for kids.
At What Age Can Your Kids Start Trampolining?
There is no particular law that recommends trampoline use based on age. Parents should decide the appropriate age to introduce their children to trampolines based on their children’s physical readiness.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) strongly discourages trampoline use for children below six years (2). This is because “Children younger than age 6 are less likely to have the coordination, body awareness, and swift reaction time necessary to keep their bodies, bones and brains safe on trampolines.” as per Jennifer M. Weiss, MD, a spokesperson for AAOS and Los Angeles pediatric orthopedic surgeon (2).
Are Trampolines Safe For Kids?
Jumping on trampolines offers entertainment and fun to children and also allows them to enjoy exercise and physical activity. However, it can be dangerous for young children, as it can cause severe physical injuries if not performed under adult supervision.
When young children attempt somersaults and flips, it could cause cervical spine and head injuries, fractures, and dislocations. Allowing your children to play on trampolines under your supervision at home and the supervision of a certified supervisor beyond the home setting can help prevent trampoline accidents.
Benefits Of Trampolining For Kids
Children love the adventure and thrill of jumping on the trampoline. It offers plenty of health benefits for little ones when done safely and under the supervision of a trained professional.
For starters, a 1980 NASA report published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that rebounding is 68% more effective than running (3). The following are a few other benefits of trampoline jumping for children.
1. Promotes cardiopulmonary health
Jumping on a trampoline works all the body parts and is a better cardiovascular workout than running as per NASA scientists (3). It is an excellent tool for increasing physical activity in children, which in turn, leads to better cardiopulmonary functions (4).
2. Improves coordination and motor skills
Bouncing on the trampoline constantly changes the center of gravity. As children hop up and down, they need to adjust their bodies with the shift in the center of gravity. This can help improve their balance and coordination, as well as their motor skills (5).
3. Improves bone health
The lesser the stress on bones, the weaker they become. Trampolining is a low-impact workout that helps strengthen the developing bones of children (5).
4. Builds self-confidence
As a child slowly learns to jump on the trampoline, they become unstoppable—they keep on trying until they become experts. It takes time to understand the momentum of jumping up and down, but once they succeed in getting control, it helps build self-confidence in them.
5. Enhances sleep
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Konstanz, Germany, states that gaining new motor skills via trampolining shows an improved increase in REM sleep (6). Trampolining also allows children to play outdoors and get fresh air and a good dose of vitamin D, which can help reduces stress and anxiety and help children sleep peacefully.
Disadvantages Of Trampolines For kids
Doing any form of exercise has its set of benefits and side effects. If not done right or under the guidance of a trained professional, it could cause more harm than good. Trampoline jumping is no different. Parents must ensure that children play on the trampoline under adult supervision and a trained person.
Most of the trampoline injuries seen in younger children are bone fractures, sprains, strains, or soft tissue injuries.
Children under the age of five are at a higher risk of developing trampoline-related injuries such as fractures and dislocation. Fracture of the upper or lower limb can be caused due to falling from the trampoline, with the lower limb being the common site of trampoline injury.
The risk of children falling increases when a trampoline is placed on an uneven surface, and the most frightening trampoline injuries are those caused due to failed attempts of somersaults or flips that may cause cervical spine injuries and head injuries (2).
How To Make Trampolines Safer For Children?
- Avoid multiple jumpers on the trampoline, and allow only one jumper at a time to prevent collision and risk of injury.
- Ensure the trampoline has proper protective padding and a net enclosure that is in fine condition and appropriately placed.
- Include printed instructions and warnings near the trampoline.
- Do not allow children below six years to play on the trampoline.
- Prohibit children from doing somersaults and flips to reduce the risk of trampoline-related injury.
- Ensure that adult supervision is strictly emphasized for the safety of children. The supervising person must be able to understand and implement the given instructions.
- There should be public awareness among the parents and community about the benefits and side effects of trampolining for children.
- Remove the trampoline ladders after every session to ensure young children do not get access to it.
- Place the trampoline on a level surface.
Trampoline jumping offers several benefits to children and improves their physical and mental health. However, it is not advised for children younger than six years. Always take safety measures to let your older children enjoy playing on the trampoline and reduce the risk of trampoline-related injuries.