Are Trampoline Parks Safe?
Trampoline parks have become more and more popular in recent years as these relatively inexpensive and incredibly fun centers have been popping up all over the place, especially in the suburbs of major cities. They tend to not only be fairly cheap and especially good for small children to help them burn energy and calories, but they are also fairly simple to set up for entrepreneurs.
But like with many new things, fears regarding the safety of the activity have become a major concern. In most cases, these fears are overblown, especially considering that parents have little trouble allowing their children to play football and basketball, both of which have a higher injury rate than trampolines.
Like with football and basketball, there are simple safety regulations and techniques that can be employed to significantly lower the risk of injury.
- Don’t Crowd the Trampoline – Trampoline parks usually have a number of trampolines connected to one another rather than one big one because the more people are on a single one, the more unreliable it gets. The very nature of how the membrane bends also means that getting more than one person on there at a time means that they are going to start moving closer together with every bounce. Be aware of where you are in relation to the other people sharing a tramp with you and try to maintain some distance to avoid mid-air collisions.
- Don’t Dive – At least one man in Utah injured himself by jumping off of a trampoline at a park into a pit full of brick-sized pieces of foam. Part of the problem is that he dove into the pit with a form similar to that of somebody diving into the water. This lowers the amount of energy that is lost from friction with the air and foam, which means that he went right through the blocks and hit his head on the floor of the pit.
This could have been avoided if he simply spread out his arms and legs, making his body as large as possible. This increases air resistance on the way into the pit, slowing you down. Moreover, it spreads out the energy from the flight to be distributed among the foam blocks, making sure that you get a soft landing. You should never jump off a trampoline using a diver’s form, nor should you ever jump head-first.
- Check for Nets – Most trampoline parks have them, but some don’t and you should never use a park that doesn’t. While they don’t have to be “nets” per say, there should be some sort of soft barrier that will keep you or your children from flying off the membrane by accident. Physics can be unforgiving, and it just takes one wrong bounce to go off in a direction that you didn’t expect. You want to be sure that if that happens, you’ll be caught by a net, another trampoline, or something that will break your momentum gradually.
- Be Supervised – Trampolining is not the kind of activity that parents should bring their kids to and leave them. If they don’t want to be actively participating, they ought to at least make sure they’re keeping an eye on their child and ensuring they aren’t being unsafe. Many newer trampoline parks also have employees monitoring the goings on to make sure that everybody is following the rules.
- Leave the Stunts to the Professionals – While it’s a lot of fun to be able to do back flips or cartwheels on the trampolines that you otherwise couldn’t, it’s dangerous. Especially inexperienced people who don’t know how to control their bodies mid-flight can easily land on their head or neck and injure themselves. Most trampoline parks offer plenty of obstacles, training fields, and fun ways to fly through the air in a safe manner, and it’s much better to take advantage of those then to literally risk your neck. You can still have a blast without re-enacting your favorite video game or movie scene.
Again, it’s important to understand that there are much fewer injuries at trampoline parks than in other organized sports. They are no more dangerous than any other activity. There are still new enough that people who partake in this activity that may not yet know how to keep themselves safe, though.
If you follow the above advice, you can have a great time at any trampoline park and not have to worry that you’ll get hurt.