Monday, May 07, 2012

Trampolines

I'm curious what other people think about backyard trampolines.  Personally, I can't think of a better way to waste your money.  Not because they aren't fun for the person jumping on them, but to me they are a complete liability and dangerous.  They have several of them at the place we take the girls to gymnastics and when it comes to the trampolines there, I have no problem with them.  They take turns, they are completely monitored at all times and they are used for teaching movements and building strength.  But in the backyard, it's completely different.

Aside from the fact that I think they are an eyesore and get gross sitting in your backyard all the time (you can't take it down and store it easily and they eventually dry rot), I have a real issue with their safety.  If you don't have a fenced in backyard (or even if you do), you run the risk of someone using it that is not supposed to use it.  Also, most trampolines have warnings that say things like more than one person should not be using it at once.  How many times have you seen a trampoline full of kids?  And how often is the parent sitting there the entire time kids are using it?

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that yesterday Caroline came into the house allllll excited because Kaitlyn's dad was putting up a trampoline in their backyard and could she go and play on it?  Because I know K's dad is an ER doc, I was mostly okay with it for this particular time since I knew he was out there watching.  So a little later in the afternoon, I walked by K's house with Bryce and Piper on their bikes and saw K's dad watching the girls on the trampoline.  They had the safety nets up and everything looked okay.  Caroline insisted that the warning said no more than 2 people on at a time.  (I always thought the rule was 1 person because of the hazards of bumping into one another.)  But the other thing I saw that I didn't like was this trampoline had attracted all kinds of other kids.  K's house is on a corner so her backyard is more exposed and it seems all the kids in the area saw them putting it up.  Caroline lamented later that she didn't like that all these other kids showed up and they had to take turns jumping.

If I was K's dad, I would have been highly unamused especially since I'm pretty sure that most of the kids that were hanging around were not K's usual buddies.  In fact, one of the kids I know K didn't know because he's in Caroline's class and we do NOT like him.  But he had a chance on the trampoline.

Jason and I talked about it and commented what trouble they are.  Now K's parents have to worry about people getting on it when they aren't there or aren't watching.  They have to worry about other kids jumping on it even when they are watching.  Talk about a liability.  Just last week, I went up to check on what Caroline and K were doing and found her across the street at the neighbor's house on their trampoline - the neighbors (who we know fairly well) weren't even home!  Needless to say, we had a frank discussion on being in someone's backyard and on the equipment when they weren't home, even if the kid that lives there told you the day before you could play on it any time.

We've already had a talk with Caroline about the trampoline and all the possibilities of injury on them.  We already don't let her go up there as often as she wants and now I'm even more hesitant.  Although I'm hoping the newness of this will wear off soon but with all the things she's learning in gymnastics I'm wondering if that won't happen since K's trampoline is a good place to practice.

I would have thought an ER doctor would never put one of those in his backyard based on things he's probably seen on the job.  So what's your perspective on backyard trampolines?

3 comments:

Katie said...

I believe your legal liability depends on trespass laws. If your kids are jumping uninvited, they are trespassing. I'd still be concerned if they were invited. I wonder how it is covered with insurance. I'll have to do some legal research as it involves negligence.

I'll never get one, but they are fun. One at a time is best. They are dangerous for small children. Teagan went on one with me and her neck snapped all around and we took her off immediately. The other kids had a ball though. Still not getting one and if I did, I wouldn't allow other kids on it.

Erin said...

My good friend's sister is a orthopedic physical therapist and will not even let her girls bounce on one, much less have one in her own yard .. she has a million stories about children's injuries she has seen from those things. Most are not from falling off, but instead from doing dangerous moves and hurting their necks, backs or joints... mostly older kids. Her opinion has filtered down and now no one in our circle of friends will EVER own one and we are all hesitant to let our kids play on them... at gymastics class, of course it's fine... but I'd be wary of the backyard thing.

Heather said...

Dangerous! So many kids have come to school with broken bones from trampolines...and bounce houses for that matter.