"Are outdoor trampolines really that unsafe?" Talk amongst yourselves.
I have three boys (ages 3, 5 and 8) and I like the physical exercise a trampoline would provide (not to mention the break from the noise inside my house!). My biggest concerns are related to possible injuries...not just "we bumped into each other" but broken body parts, concussions, or something worse.
Some people say that only one kid at a time should jump but that seems really time consuming to enforce and it's super fun to jump with another person safely. My 8 year old is a stocky, unusually strong, rough and tumble guy who weighs double what my 5 year old weighs and triple the amount of my 3 year old so I'm most concerned about the younger two getting hurt.
Also, my 8 year old weighs about 10-20 lbs more than his peers so I worry about a buddy getting hurt as well if I don't let him jump with his younger brothers.
Please do tell me any of your insights, how you organize playing on one, liability with other kids, favorite brand, whether you would do it again, etc.
Our neighbor has an outdoor trampoline with an enclosure (similar to the one pictured here) and it has been a boon to the neighborhood kids. That said, collisions between multiple jumpers are pretty much inevitable.
This neighbor (whose kids are similar ages and weight differences) went through a similar thought process when deciding upon whether to commit to the trampoline. She already knew she was unwilling to constantly supervise every moment her kids and their friends were jumping.
Based on conversations with ER doctor friends (all of whom said they would buy trampolines for their own kids), here's how she decided to run things:
1. Only allow two jumpers of similar weight at a time. As you guessed, Ann, it's the weight difference that increases the potential for injury.
2. If someone falls, the other person stops jumping. Many injuries happen when a fallen jumper gets bounced uncontrollably.
3. Playdate parents must give express permission for their kids to jump. Fair warning!
4. Her kids are responsible for communicating and enforcing the rules. If rules get broken by them or their friends, she is strict about closing the trampoline for a couple days.
She says her guidelines have worked beautifully and she loves having the trampoline. (My kids love it, too.)
Parent Hacks Collective Wisdom...ACTIVATE!
Outdoor trampoline: yes or no? If yes, how do you manage it? Tips? Size, feature or brand recommendations?
PS. When the weather gets warm you can use your trampoline as an outdoor movie theater.