Many parents may consider purchasing a trampoline for kids since it is a great way for children to achieve their daily dose of physical activity. However, safety could be a concern for most parents. On that note, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages the use of trampolines in indoor settings as it poses a high risk of several accidents (1).
However, you may install a trampoline in a home by observing the right safety precautions. These precautions ensure the safe use of the trampoline by children, preventing the risk of any injuries. It will ultimately help a child reap all the benefits of a trampoline safely.
Read on to know more about the right age for introducing trampoline to children, its benefits, and disadvantages.
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 reduce 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long can my child jump on a trampoline?
The maximum duration a child can jump on a trampoline may vary based on the purpose and their age. However, one study suggests that trampolines can be used to promote physical activity in children through high-intensity interval training and moderate-intensity training. Moreover, the children who participated in the study enjoyed high-intensity jumping for as little as a few minutes (4).
2. Should my child wear shoes when jumping on a trampoline?
Refrain from wearing fashionable boots or slip-on shoes while jumping on a trampoline. However, if you want to wear shoes, ensure you wear an appropriate shoe, such as a plimsoll shoe (8).
Trampoline jumping could help promote physical and mental health in children. However, it is not recommended for children below six years since their bones may not be able to handle repetitive pressure. Further, allow children to use trampolines only in places that have taken adequate safety measures to reduce the risk of trampoline-related injuries. Alternatively, if you have a trampoline at home, ensure that safety measures such as proper protective padding and net enclosures are used. When trampolines for kids are used safely with adult supervision, they offer children a fun way to work out.
- The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons advises not to use trampolines for children below six.
- You may use trampolines for older children under proper supervision.
- The benefits of using trampolines include improved coordination, cardiovascular, and bone health.
- Follow proper precautions, prohibit flips and somersaults, and do not allow more than one child at once.
2. Orthopaedic surgeons warn parents and young children about the dangers of trampolines; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
3. A. Bhattacharya et al.; Body acceleration distribution and O2 uptake in humans during running and jumping; Journal of Applied Psychology (1980).
4. Isabelle Schöffl; Jumping into a Healthier Future: Trampolining for Increasing Physical Activity in Children; Research Square (20200.
5. Paraskevi Giagazoglou; Can balance trampoline training promote motor coordination and balance performance in children with developmental coordination disorder?; Science Direct (2015).
6. Joachim Buchegger et al.; Does Trampolining and Anaerobic Physical Fitness Affect Sleep?; Sage Journals (1991).
7. Keith Alexander et al; Effectiveness of pads and enclosures as safety interventions on consumer trampolines; BMJ Journals (2010).
8. Keith Alexander et al; Club Dress Policy; Brentwood Trampoline