Trampolines may be circular or rectangular or square; they might be used by future Olympic gymnasts or neighborhood kids, but the most important factor in a trampoline purchase is its safety.
In today’s sedentary world, where children may spend more time inside with their electronic devices than they do outside in the fresh air, trampolines are an irresistible form of activity that helps young people engage in the exercise that they need. Many parents are fearful, however, of the risk of injury that is sometimes associated with trampolines. For parents who want to keep their kids healthy and injury-free, we offer the following information on the best trampolines to buy to keep your children safe while they’re active.
Trampoline Safety of America is a third-party organization that reviews the technical aspects of the products distributed by American trampoline companies, teaching the public about trampoline safety. Their membership includes structural engineers, trampoline gymnasts, coaches, professional trampoline installers, and customer service sales representatives as well as trampoline owners.
The goal is to get kids to have fun while taking part in physical activity, not send them to the emergency room. Here are some of the tips the organization provides to help families as they search for the safest trampoline:
- Is the net enclosure safe for small children?
- Is the frame thick and heavy enough, so it won’t tilt or shift with too much weight on one end?
- Does the entire frame bend or flex when there’s too much weight on the trampoline?
- Will the trampoline fold if one of the frame pieces breaks?
- Welded joints can easily rust; are there a lot of welded joints in the trampoline?
Trampoline Safety of America provides an overall rating that’s based on the quality of the bounce, the knowledge and helpfulness of the customer service representatives, the ease of installation, accessibility of replacement parts, price, and most importantly, safety.
Based on the above criteria, the following trampolines were ranked as the most satisfactory for safety:
The Olympus Pro Trampolines win kudos because their thick frame gives them a weight capacity of up to 550 pounds, with a 1500 pound thrust rating. The fully galvanized, hot-dipped Olympus frame is the only trampoline in the industry that’s this thick. The thickness of the steel frame gives the trampoline a stability that, when added to the other safety features, justifies its high rating.
The holes in the netting are small, less than1/4“ double-woven nylon. The net is equipped with a zipper and clips that enclose the jumpers safely within. A popular enhancement is the sleeve that comes with the net, so that the padded net enclosure poles are enclosed. Because the net sits on the outside of the frame, the jumper has more space for jumping and less likelihood of injury.
The Infinity Trampoline is one of the few trampolines with a weight rating that’s heavy enough for families to play on together, allowing parents to join their kids for family fun.
The frame is 600 pounds and supports 500 pounds easily, without flipping over or collapsing. The frames are galvanized inside and out, unlike most trampolines, which are galvanized on the outside only. The risk of outside-only galvanizing is that trampolines are outdoor products. When only the outside is galvanized, the water that seeps inside can begin to rust the metal.
According to the Bureau of Trampoline Review, the Infinity Trampoline excelled in safety tests. They approved of the net, which, thanks to the zipper and clips, allows jumpers more space. This protects jumpers if they land outside the jumping area, as others wait their turn and sit on the spring pad.
The Infinity Trampoline is said to have an outstanding lifetime warranty that covers its frames and springs.
The triple woven nylon netting system includes zipper and clips to prevent children from accidentally falling off the trampoline. The net, which sits on the frame, reaches six feet in height, protecting anyone from being able to jump out. The net enclosure poles have ½”-thick padding, shield kids from injury if they bump the frame.
Other features you can review, as you decide on which trampolines are safest for your kids include:
With the innovation of the Springfree trampoline, the risk of children falling through the springs is eliminated. Although these trampolines are more expensive than others, the money savings comes because there are no springs to replace.
Trampolines with Enclosures
Safety nets that are attached to the poles offer enhanced protection because the jumpers can’t fall off the trampoline.
Trampolines with Anchor Kits
Anchor kits ensure stability while kids are jumping. The kit is also a safety feature if your home is in an area known for high winds and powerful storms. Anchoring the trampoline into the ground makes it more secure for jumpers and reassuring for parents.
Trampolines with Removable Ladders
With a removable ladder, you can remove access to the trampoline when children are finished playing. This keeps kids from jumping without supervision, as long as the ladder is stored in a place where you can monitor its use.
Trampolines with Pads
Pads that cover the springs, hooks, and bars make a trampoline safer by protecting the jumpers from hitting their head or other parts of their body against the metal surfaces. Keep in mind that pads wear out and will need to be replaced.
Trampolines on Flat, Open Surfaces
A trampoline that tilts can cause injury to the jumper. Positioning the trampoline on a level surface, free from uneven ground or obstructions, keeps the trampoline safer. It’s also safer if the trampoline is positioned on a soft surface, rather than concrete or a hard surface, in case the jumper falls off. Grass is more forgiving than concrete. Don’t forget to look up AND down when deciding where to place your trampoline. Uneven ground is dangerous for a trampoline, but what’s above the ground can be just as perilous. A trampoline should have at least 24 feet of overhead clearance to allow a safe jumping experience. Horizontal clearance should be at least six feel on all sides of the trampoline. Even if your trampoline has a safety enclosure, it must be six feet away from your house, car, fencing, and bushes.
Because an in-ground trampoline is level with the ground, the chances of a jumper falling are eliminated. But that doesn’t eliminate the risk for injury. Jumpers still need to remember that, even though they can’t jump as high as they would with a standard trampoline, jumping from the trampoline to the ground is still risky.
There are some ways to make sure that trampoline fun is safely monitored by adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following safety guidelines:
- Make sure there is always adult supervision
- Only one person should be using the trampoline at a time
- Don’t do somersaults on the trampoline
- Use the protective padding that is available, making sure that it’s in good condition and appropriately placed
- Examine the equipment regularly to make sure that it’s in good condition, and replace those parts which are showing signs of wear
- Obtain a rider on your insurance policy to make sure that any trampoline-related injuries are included in your policy
Having fun, while maintaining safety standards, allows trampolines to maintain their popularity for family entertainment. As with any outdoor equipment, paying attention to safety rules ensures that everyone has a good time without risk. Jump high, jump safe, and enjoy your trampoline!