Whether you have a small indoor trampoline at your house or you're taking your kids to the neighborhood trampoline gym, the precautions are surprisingly similar. Since trampolines can result in falls, sprains and even breaks, it's important your kids have the trampoline rundown before you turn them loose. While most safety rules are common sense, you might need to reiterate their importance to make the activity safer for everyone.
You might have fond memories of playing "Crack the Egg" with your friends as a kid, but jumping with more than one person can be dangerous, especially inside. Most indoor trampolines -- be they mini-size or large gymnastics tramps -- are meant for one jumper at a time. Jumping with more than one child can create havoc, especially when they end up colliding mid-air or are scrambling to move out of the way. Institute a "one-at-a-time rule" to keep everyone safe.
Padding and Protection
Accessories that can be added to indoor trampolines make them safer for everyone. Sufficient padding can cushion a blow or a bad landing, so make sure that any trampolines you use have padding that goes over the springs. While you can control the padding at home, you can't at public gyms and parks. Before you hand over any money for your kids to jump, inspect the indoor play gym and make sure there are proper safety precautions in place to protect your little ones.
Ensuring that there's enough room to jump is especially important if you keep a small indoor trampoline at your house. There should be a space of 4 or 5 feet clear all the way around the trampoline. Even if you can't get especially high on a small trampoline, you could still fall or knock into furniture around you. You also need to make sure there's enough room overhead. If you can jump up and touch the ceiling, there's not enough head room to be safe.
Skip the Tricks
Kids always want to push the boundaries and hey, you might want to show off your trampoline skills, too. But leave the tricks to the pros when on your trampoline. A bad landing or falling off of the trampoline could cause serious injuries. Before you jump, ask the attendant working at the indoor trampoline park about which features of the park are best for specific age groups. That way, your 5-year-old isn't drawn to a trampoline meant for high school daredevils. And, if you do decide to try a few tricks yourself, make sure you can execute them properly, landing on your feet or bottom.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.