Take the Jump or Not?
September 9, 2010 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Twelve year old daughter wants a trampoline. My gut tells me no.

Her constant pleas are going on for weeks now and I have resisted, knowing what I've heard of the dangers. Sure, I can establish rules to keep just one kid jumping at a time but I don't think I could forgive myself if something bad happened to her or one of her friends.

Then there's the kid in me that says, lighten up worry wart. You were young too and did far more risky stuff and you got through it ok.
What to do? And how to explain it if the answer is no?
posted by terrier319 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (63 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Something bad can happen to her and her friends anyway. Don't use that as an excuse. And depending on the size of the trampoline only allowing 1 person on at a time is just sort of dumb.

I say get the trampoline and make sure you enjoy it yourself too. But that's partly the kid in me that wishes I had one right now.
posted by theichibun at 9:39 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

Check to make sure your homeowners' insurance allows for them. Some do not.
posted by Lucinda at 9:40 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]

How about a trampoline with the netting on the sides that keeps people from falling off? Would that be a workable compromise? Ultimately you're the parent and what your comfortable with matters. If you're not comfortable with a trampoline, how about buying her a season of some sort of circus lessons (including trampoline or acrobatics). They'll use safety harnesses so you won't have to feel so worried. Here's an example.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:41 AM on September 9, 2010 [7 favorites]

She's twelve. You can't worry about that as much as if she was 5 or 6 or you'll go crazy. She's going to be driving in a few years. You can't be overly protective.

Can you enroll her in a trampoline class or trapeze class? That might give her a good lesson on safety.
posted by anniecat at 9:41 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

The "there are things I'm comfortable with that other parents aren't and vice versa" conversation is going to be an ongoing theme. Get good at it.

"It's too dangerous for me to be comfortable with. No."

The mom side of me also wants to tell you -- dude, it's really expensive, they take up a ton of space and I guarantee she'll be bored of it in a month and then you're stuck with it, rusting and getting more crappy looking in the yard. Take her and her friends to Pump it Up or something.
posted by Gucky at 9:42 AM on September 9, 2010 [13 favorites]

I think the more expensive ones with good enclosures are probably less dangerous than other trouble 12 year olds can be getting into.
If I could keep my eye on my 12 year old and know she was having fun with her friends and exercising I would jump on it. I swear, as I wrote that, no pun WAS intended but I left it there- so pun sorta intended.
posted by beccaj at 9:42 AM on September 9, 2010

Twelve is fine. Trampolines are lots of fun. Go for it if you can afford it. Make sure there's an adult around whenever her friends are jumping on it, at least.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:43 AM on September 9, 2010

I'm assuming you're talking about the large 10 feet+ trampolines.

They make trampolines with nets around the perimeter to improve the safety.

I'm in my mid 20's and I want a trampoline. So any advice on my part might be biased.
posted by royalsong at 9:44 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh and I want to add the kids up the street from me had one. They used it ALL the time and when they weren't jumping on it they used it like a club house. I always thought that trampoline was worth every penny their parents spent on it. YMMV.
posted by beccaj at 9:45 AM on September 9, 2010

FWIW, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against having a home trampoline.
posted by jingzuo at 9:45 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

One of those 10' trampolines was the site of my most grievous injury to date (I sprained my arm-- I mostly lead a charmed life), but I don't think you need to be overly worried about the dangers of such a device. The ones with nets are pretty awesome.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:50 AM on September 9, 2010

Having a home trampoline can be really dangerous, especially if you're not going to invest in the (expensive) safety equipment, mats, etc. Instead, can you sign her up for gymnastics classes? Or circus classes? Your local gymnastics place might even offer a trampoline-specific class.
posted by shamash at 9:52 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

A friend of my dad's daugther fell on her own heel, which damaged her rectum (basically, she stuck her own foot up her ass). They are very fun, but I'd never get my kids or nieces one.
posted by clearlydemon at 9:53 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Man I had a trampoline growing up and it was the Best.Thing.Ever. Seriously, loved it, we would have six 12 year olds at a time on there, bounching each other so we almost hit tree limbs. It was awesome. We laid out on it, put dawn on top and a sprinkler underneath for slippery fun. I guess someone could have gotten hurt but no one did and the whole thing was AWESOME!
posted by stormygrey at 9:56 AM on September 9, 2010

This is completely anecdotal, plus I do not have children of my own.

I grew up in the country, so we did lots of crazy things - playing on farm equipment, driving in fields, having ATVs, motorbikes, gocarts, etc. On top of that I was in tons of sports, and was very active in competitive gymnastics and cheerleading. That background info is just to say that I did not grow up without any risks. Only broken bones or serious injuries I've ever had - trampoline.

Broken bones aren't the worst thing that can happen to a child, so to some people that won't be a big deal. Just throwing out my experience FWIW.
posted by 3fluffies at 9:56 AM on September 9, 2010

I had a trampoline. I guess it was probably before the TV news people caught on to them and started running the "TRAMPOLINES: BACKYARD AUSCHWITZ"-type stories. It didn't even have padding around the edges, much less a net, like I notice some of the modern ones do. But I don't think it really occurred to them that it was particularly dangerous, and in truth compared to a lot of other things we might have done instead, it probably wasn't.

People definitely went flying off the damn thing, and we routinely had 3 and 4 kids on it at once (half the fun is figuring out how you can 'double-bounce' someone and send them flying into the air). It was a good time. And for a kid not particularly into organized sports, it was good exercise.

But whether or not it's a good idea probably depends a lot on the environment you live in, and the litigiousness of your kids' friends' parents. Just as a point of reference, when a friend of mine sprained his wrist on the trampoline, it was "well, he must have been doing something dumb," not "I'll see you in court." (And when I got bitten by their dog, it was "well, don't pester the dog.") If that doesn't sound like your community, it might not be a good idea.

It probably also depends on your kids, and whether your kids are the sort who are likely to take a lot of physical risks and possibly injure themselves. I knew all about The Horrors of Spinal Injuries (one of my father's favorite lectures) by the time I was in elementary school, and as a result wasn't doing any triple-flips or anything where I thought I'd possibly land on my neck and end up spending the rest of my life in a diaper. If that doesn't sound like your kids' style, then you might want to not tempt fate.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:03 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't be a bummer.

Sure kids have been injured on trampolines - but kids have been injured doing EVERYthing!
Or even nothing - The only time I broke (fractured) a bone was when I tripped over my own feet and fell in the driveway.

Kids can get injured in so many ways - trampolines, swing sets, riding bikes, rollerblading, skateboarding, climbing trees, sports, tag, dirtbikes, swimming, etc
You can't just ban everything from them!
Well, you COULD... but I think that isn't a good idea.

I, personally, hated trampolines. i guess I was a cautious kid. We had them in school and I was always afraid I would bounce off or get my leg stuck in the holes near the springs.

Most trampolines are used for a month and then just sit there.

But 10 years ago, when they were really popular again, I saw them at Sam's Club for $89. the big huge ones. So, I don't think it's really THAT expensive.
Like others have said, get the one with net around it.
posted by KogeLiz at 10:03 AM on September 9, 2010

I always refused to have one. I'm not afraid of much and my kids were very free range kids who rode bikes all over the neighborhood and took city buses by themselves in Baltimore and so on but trampolines scare the shit out of me. My parents had a friend whose young teenage son was paralyzed for life on one - granted, this was back in the dim dark days when they had no safety mechanisms like padding at all - and it left me with a fear of the things. However I compromised by saying that while we wouldn't own one, they could play on other people's trampolines just fine. There are usually enough in any given neighborhood where that means your kids are not going to become permanently psychologically scarred by trampoline deprivation. Go with your gut. If they really scare you, then say, no, sorry, we're not going to get one of those. Too bad! Alas, your childhood is terrible! And then go and do something else. Twelve year olds will get over being denied stuff and in a year or two she won't want one anymore anyway.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:04 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

anniecat's suggestion is right on. Enroll your daughter in gymnastics or trampoline and tumbling classes. She'll learn how to use the equipment safely and treat it with respect. She'll also learn how to land and fall properly. Bonus - she'll also be way less likely to get bored with it in a couple months. I was 17 by the time I lost interest in mine.
posted by keep it under cover at 10:05 AM on September 9, 2010

stormygrey - YES! Same experience. Sprinkler was awesome... in the winter (my parents never took it down) we'd pack snow all around it and have an igloo to play in. Really so much fun. We didn't have any of the safety nets and we did have one incident, where my sister flew off and landed basically on her head.

Seems to me that having a trampoline with safety nets is an acceptable risk, similar to allowing your child to play sports, waterski, climb trees, etc, i.e. all the fun parts of being a kid. Not to mention, it would be another reason for your daughter to be out of the house, getting fresh air, not sitting in front of a TV or something. Seriously, some of my best memories of being a teenager are playing with my younger brothers on the trampoline, bouncing while I chatted on the phone for hours, layout out to get a tan with friends, looking up at the stars with my first boyfriend. It still pains me that we had a huge windstorm that picked it up and ruined it and my parents never got around to replacing it.
posted by coupdefoudre at 10:08 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think the AAP page is sort of silly.

[A]n estimated 100,000 people were injured on trampolines in 1999.

Is it just me or is 100,000 not really that high a number? According to the 2000 census data, there were 72.3 million people under age 18. Assuming all 100,000 people injured on trampolines were in that age group, that's ... about 1/10th of 1 percent? So if we assume that 1% of households have a trampoline, and the average household has two children, that means that there's a 2% chance per year of your daughter sustaining some sort of trampoline-related injury. 2% doesn't seem outside the bounds of acceptability to me. Any sort of sport or physical exercise probably carries a similar risk, wouldn't you think?

And that's a pretty conservative estimate. The real odds are lower if trampolines are more common, family size is bigger, or a significant percentage of people injured on trampolines were in fact over 18. I'm pretty sure all three of those things are true.

And on top of that, the AAP is including minor stuff in their count of injuries, like "bruises, scrapes, and cuts." If you're afraid of exposing your daughter to situations in which she might get bruised or cut, you're not letting her have enough fun.

For comparison, consider this data regarding bicycle injuries among kids. There were 27.7 million child bicyclists in 1994, and a 1988 study estimated that about 4.4 million children were injured on bicycles annually. That's over a 15 percent chance of getting hurt on a bike.

Get your daughter a trampoline with a net, and let her use it under supervision. She'll be totally fine and have a blast.
posted by magnificent frigatebird at 10:09 AM on September 9, 2010 [10 favorites]

I don't know, I wouldn't be comfortable having a trampoline (and I don't even have kids yet). We didn't have one growing up, but one of my friends did. It was a constant source of injuries. Too many people would try to jump at a time, so there were always flailing elbow/leg bruises, and one time my friend's brother jumped too close to the edge and one of his legs fell through between the springs. He pulled his groin, the thing probably got a little too up close and personal on his balls, and he got a nice, nasty slice up his leg from the metal of the spring. And this other girl at my school fell off her trampoline and actually broke her neck, nearly paralyzing her. She left the school for a couple years until she learned how to walk again and now, close to 15 years later, she has a lot of movement issues.

So yeah, if you're not comfortable with it, you're not comfortable with it, and it's not exactly an insane position to take.
posted by phunniemee at 10:10 AM on September 9, 2010

Ask her if she wants the trampoline to:
a) learn how to do cool things ("I want to do a back flip") - in which case circus/gymnastic lessons are great, or
b) be able to invite her friends over ("Hey, we can go to *my* house and play on the trampoline!") - in which case you can substitute another high-value "cool" feature like a Wii or whatever kids are into these days.
posted by ebellicosa at 10:14 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

I recently purchased a trampoline for my kids. It has a net around it, but that pesky net, as one of my sons points out, simply serves to keep the basketball from staying in play when they shoot at the hoop we bought for it and it goes over.

If I had not purchased the tramp, my kids would have simply gone down the street and used their friend's. Save me some money there. But after a decent amount of thought, I decided that with my kids playing football, lacrosse and generally playing kill the ball carrier at lunch in school, the tramp was another risk I as a parent had to either get used to or not. So I looked at my kids and how responsible I thought they would be and how likely I thought they would be to follow some basic rules. My kids can handle it. Is is possible they get hurt? Yup. Is it possible they get really hurt and parallelized? Yes, the odds are higher than if we did not have the tramp, but not so high that they should not use it properly.

Quite frankly, I am more likely to get hurt on it than they are. When I jump or when I play with them on it, if anyone is going to pull a muscle, break an arm or bash his head, it will be me who does not know how to fall like a kid does anymore.

I try real hard not to push my own fears of injury and accident down onto my kids. I give them a healthy dose of skepticism and proper cautions and let them find out on their own that some things are better left undone based on the risk reward and the probabilities associated with those outcomes.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:19 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Your Homeowner's insurance will go up, and you should increase your liability, which will add to the increase.
posted by Gungho at 10:22 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Whoops, I think I made an arithmetic error above.

So if we assume that 1% of households have a trampoline, and the average household has two children, that means that there's a 2% chance per year of your daughter sustaining some sort of trampoline-related injury.

Two children per house means twice as many children have access to trampolines than if there was just one child per house. So that halves the odds, not doubles them, right?

So that should be a .5% chance of injury, not a 2% chance.
posted by magnificent frigatebird at 10:23 AM on September 9, 2010

My mother had to deal with her boys and her only daughter getting hurt by a barrage of things. She never bought anything that would encourage it more. If this is going to make you depressed and anxious, don't do it and stick by your decision. Is your child clumsy? I know especially at 12 it's a very awkward physical stage. Maybe you can wait until she's a bit older? Or like someone said, add a net to the side so this way nobody breaks their neck.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 10:25 AM on September 9, 2010

My mom was an ER nurse, so I could never have a trampoline (she saw more than one kid come in with a broken neck) or an ATV (again, broken necks). This isn't to say that I didn't jump on other kids' trampolines. Our favorite activity: dish soap + garden hose.

I know a kid who broke an ankle (on the trampoline, not landing on the ground), a wrist (same thing, landed wrong on the trampoline) and a kid who tore his scrotum (we wore short shorts in the late 80s) in the springs. I'm sure if we jumped long enough one of us would have a foot up their own rectum as well.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:28 AM on September 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

Check with your homeowner's insurance company. My insurance company won't insure homeowners with trampolines.
posted by cecic at 10:30 AM on September 9, 2010

Sitting in front of the TV or computer isn't even less risky than bouncing outside on a trampoline. It's only that the risks of not having enough exercise will show up much later, when your daughter is all grown up (obesity, diabetes, etc.).

OTOH, I can imagine that she'd use it for some weeks and then get bored...anniecat's suggestion is a good idea - if she takes a trampoline class and enjoys it, you can still think about getting one for the back yard, with the additional plus that she would learn about safety.
posted by The Toad at 10:34 AM on September 9, 2010

Trampolines are like boats and vacation homes. Don't have one... have a friend that has one.
posted by candyland at 10:34 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

I had one when I was 10 or so and LOVED IT. Mom did install the "only one person jumps at a time" rule and I was kinda fanatical about enforcing it. I wish we'd had that fencing they have no around it, that would have maybe (MAYBE) lightened her up, though she was more concerned about us jumping into friends and bonking our skulls.
posted by GaelFC at 10:35 AM on September 9, 2010

Anecdotal info: Two weeks ago my nephew's friend lost teeth & needed jaw surgery from a mishap on a netted trampoline. My niece once had an accident which required stiches in her tongue.
I'm glad they didn't have them when I was a kid.
posted by canoehead at 10:35 AM on September 9, 2010

FWIW, the trampolines of our youth and the ones now are not the same beasts. My brother's family have a trampoline, a bit like this one. In my experience they don't bounce that high or do anything especially acrobatic. It's not like a proper gymnastic trampoline where you can actually bounce pretty high. It's a play area.

To me it would come down to this: yes, it's risky. But they come with perimeter nets, which basically cuts out all those injuries kids get from falling off them. And it's in your back yard, which is better than not in your back yard.

Also, you'd need a policy on banning trampoline use at other kids' houses.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:37 AM on September 9, 2010

And how to explain it if the answer is no?

"Because I said so and I'm boss" was my mom's explanation for things like this. Ah, childhood.

Anyway, I would say no trampoline, partly because of the risks and partly because it's a gigantic thing to have lying around if/when she gets bored with it.

When I was twelve, I had a friend with a trampoline, and the main draw for us all was practicing cheerleading jumps on it. Is cheerleading something she's interested in? There might be a cheaper safer alternative.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:39 AM on September 9, 2010

in a year or two she won't want one anymore anyway


There were a lot of things I was absolutely DESPERATE (!!!1!1!!!!11!) to have when I was twelve that I wouldn't have touched with a ten foot pole at thirteen or fourteen.

Also, keep in mind that she is probably too old to start with gymnastics. Most kids who do it start at preschool or kindergarten age, which means that the other twelve year olds will be far beyond the beginner level and she will not be able to participate unless it's with kids who are vastly younger than she is. At twelve I felt like a failure in ballet because I wasn't en pointe yet, which meant I was stuck with the 9 and 10 year olds. I can't imagine taking up an activity like that and having to do it with preschool kids.
posted by Sara C. at 10:40 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

We have a trampoline(with the net around it) and no one has been injured...yet. It is in its rusting hulk stage. Two things to add:

1. Get a trampoline if you want to be the household that kids congregate at. It's is very handy to see your child and their friends interact and put names to faces especially in the age of cell phones when the chances of interaction with your teenage kid's friends are practically nil.

2. Trampolines + strobe lights are about as much fun as it sounds.
posted by readery at 10:44 AM on September 9, 2010

Trampolines are put into the same category as pools in terms of potential for raising insurance rates (up to 10%, according to the linked site).

You can look at this way: get her enrolled in a class, and while it will be more expensive than buying a trampoline, it may be less expensive than the increase in your insurance rate, and you'll (probably) feel more comfortable with the whole situation.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:46 AM on September 9, 2010

I vote no. I am not a parent. I knew many kids with trampolines when I was young. I played on the trampolines, slept in tents on the trampolines (most uncomfortable sleep ever), drank on their trampolines in high school, which was probably the most dangerous trampoline application. No one was injured. I still vote no.

MuffinMan's suggestion is ludicrous. You don't need to completely ban trampoline usage at friends' houses; if you're uncomfortable with it, then saying "We are not getting a trampoline, sorry, end of story" should be satisfactory. If they want to bounce at friends' houses than so be it.

I see no benefits to having a trampoline. They can be expensive, they take up space, and they're hideous eyesores you'll have to stare at every day when your kids are too old to play / bored with the trampoline.
posted by good day merlock at 10:47 AM on September 9, 2010

I must have absorbed some of the scorn and disdain my mother had for trampolines (and video game systems) -- they were the kind of thing that other parents could get their kids if they loved them that much, but not suitable for our home. But I'm with my mom on this one -- let someone else's insurance pay for the trampoline injuries your kid will sustain. tell her to make friends with trampoline-owners.

Having a trampoline at home means that your kid might always be on it -- do you want to have to tear yourself away from other (probably important, like making dinner or napping) activities to give supervision? will your kid listen when you tell them 'no trampoline right now'?

however, like hot tubs and other things, i think trampolines can be rented. Perhaps get one for a month in the summer and be insistent it will go after that time. that means only a month of nonstop jumping, only a month of a trampoline-shaped portion of your lawn drying up, and a month of worrying about all the liability insurance you'll need.
posted by custard heart at 10:50 AM on September 9, 2010

MuffinMan's suggestion is ludicrous

Muffinman's suggestion is that a policy on banning would be needed. Not what the policy would be.

The first thing a kid would ask when you turn down a request for a trampoline on safety grounds would be why it was ok to do it at a friend's house.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:05 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

What does she want to use the trampoline for?

I, too, begged for a trampoline around that age, and got one. My main use for it was bouncing around while talking to myself; I liked the bouncy feeling, and I wanted to play make believe without anyone thinking I was playing make believe (since everyone else seemed to think middle school was too old for it).

I stayed very near the center of the trampoline, most of the time, and didn't bounce especially high. Our house had a "one person on the trampoline at a time" rule (which wasn't hard to enforce, since it was usually just me using it).
posted by ocherdraco at 11:21 AM on September 9, 2010

Absolutely no on the trampoline.

Brain injuries are sitting on telephone wires like carrion crows looking hungrily down at your kid as he or she plays on a backyard trampoline.
posted by jamjam at 11:33 AM on September 9, 2010

I broke my leg on my family trampoline when I was in middle school. I was jumping around with a friend while we ran the sprinkler (it makes everything slippery, is great fun, and is very dangerous). There were also innumerable falls and scrapes from the years of use, but no other instances of great damage - my two siblings and all of our friends came out fine.

That said, trampolines are awesome. I don't have kids (so grain of salt here), but I'd definitely get one for them if I did. I count a trampoline as a positive in my childhood. I was a bookish, indoor type of kid. The trampoline was a good source of exercise and a way to socialize with peers since a trampoline tends to attract all of the neighborhood kids.

Set some reasonable rules if you get one - limit the number of people jumping at a time, nothing but people on the trampoline, etc. The kids WILL try dangerous stunts when you're not around to watch. My brothers and I specialized in jumping from the roof of the house onto the trampoline and then trying to have our momentum carry us up onto a low-hanging nearby tree branch, just to give you an idea.

The decision ultimately comes down to your tolerance for risk, I suppose. A trampoline can be a fun toy, but it can also be a mechanism to help you to teach your daughter some good judgment and decision-making skills - what's dangerous, how to judge risk in a previously unknown situation, etc. You'll have to turn her loose on the world at some point. It's up to you whether the trampoline issue is going to be a step in that direction.
posted by owls at 11:58 AM on September 9, 2010

This question made my skin crawl. My cousin was bouncing around on a trampoline when he was around ten, jumped too high and bounced awkwardly off the trampoline. He hit the ground on the side of his face and cracked his skull near his left eye. The minor part of that injury was the horrendous pain... the major, partial blindness in his left eye due to nerve damage. He can only distinguish light/dark in that eye.
posted by Everydayville at 12:22 PM on September 9, 2010

I think they make your insurance go up, but Check With Your Insurer.

Also, anecdata: my friend Heidi was a gymnastics instructor at the time she landed badly on a trampoline during a family party and knocked out eleven of her teeth. They were collected by friends and relatives (no doubt shutting down the party in the process) and all successfully reimplanted in her gums. Only a cute little scar on her lip afterwards -- that and, you know, nightmares for everyone who heard the story. *shudder*
posted by wenestvedt at 12:48 PM on September 9, 2010

She's 12. You are the adult. You are not comfortable. End of discussion.

It really does not matter what everyone on this thread says. Fwiw my children's best friends' family had a trampoline and my kids did get on it occasionally with no harmful effects.

But so what?

Besides, your home insurance may not like the idea. What if a neighbor's child is injured?

If you were comfortable with the idea of a trampoline I would not consider you a bad parent. But the truth is, you are not. It is your home and your kid. It will not kill your child to have you say no to something whether or not it is unreasonable. You are the parent.

YOU are the parent.

You explain to your child that you do not feel comfortable with the risks and as the homeowner the (financial) risks fall to you. When she is an adult with her own place SHE can get a trampoline if she likes. You are not obliged to take a risk your gut tells you not to take just because SHE wants something. Wanting something does not mean one is entitled to have it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:01 PM on September 9, 2010

I wouldn't do it under my rule of "don't do things that make you perpetually uneasy."

That said, if I were more of an anxious mom I might take a look at that and feel like I needed to ease up, but my kid's eaten ladybugs. I'm not over-protective.

I wouldn't be okay with a trampoline.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:15 PM on September 9, 2010

The insurance company I worked at (as a claims adjuster) would cancel your homeowner's policy if they found out you owned a trampoline - whether it was in a fenced yard, whether it had walls around it, didn't matter, you lost your insurance.

And, as said above, it's considered an attractive nuisance - something *dangerous* that attracts children and for which you are liable.

Just say no.
posted by daneflute at 1:39 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I, too, begged for a trampoline around that age, and got one. My main use for it was bouncing around while talking to myself; I liked the bouncy feeling, and I wanted to play make believe without anyone thinking I was playing make believe (since everyone else seemed to think middle school was too old for it).

This is exactly what my partner's youngest does (age 7). We have a fine mesh net and no holes around the edge so you can get to the springs. We keep an eye on her (and her sister) when they're on it. 'Only one at a time' rule in place too.

It's fine.
posted by Chairboy at 3:03 PM on September 9, 2010

My mom is a pediatrician. She routinely curses parents who got their kids paralyzed by letting them play on trampolines. She sees many kids who are very badly injured in all kinds of intentional and unintentional ways, but trampoline accidents are both pretty horrible and entirely preventable.
posted by miyabo at 3:56 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

... She sees many kids who are very badly injured in all kinds of intentional and unintentional ways, but trampoline accidents are both pretty horrible and entirely preventable.

Yeah, kids should just stay in bed. Wait, they wouldn't jump on the mattresses would they?

Seriously, accidents happen. We had a trampoline which all three of mine used virtually daily for years without problem. The youngest got his first motorbike aged six, and over the next 15 years or so they only had one incident requiring a trip to hospital after a crash at a race meeting. As country kids they were around chainsaws, tractors, shearing sheds, guns, you name it. They started driving on my knee at around age eight.

Sure they shed blood and broke a bone or two (probably - I can't remember now) but the big accidents didn't (generally) happen to them. Why? - who knows. Providence, luck, common sense, supervision, lots of reasons probably.

So, its up to you. You will kick yourself if anything happens if you say yes, and if you say no your child will miss out on a lot of fun. And isn't it fun being a parent and having to deal with these decisions lol.
posted by GeeEmm at 4:54 PM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you have a trampoline, then the kids in the neighborhood and friends, will come play at your place where you can keep an eye on them. If you don't then perhaps your daughter and friends will play at other people's houses where they have less supervision and other activities. I think a trampoline will include your daughter to stay in your area and you will have more chance to keep an eye on her and get to know her friends.
posted by aetg at 5:58 PM on September 9, 2010

Seconding the response that said the insurance company will cancel your homeowner's insurance for having a trampoline.
posted by Issithe at 6:52 PM on September 9, 2010

Seconding the response that said the insurance company will cancel your homeowner's insurance for having a trampoline.

Can anyone substantiate this, preferably with the name of the insurance company and location?
posted by GeeEmm at 8:02 PM on September 9, 2010

The only normal kid things we weren't allowed to do growing up with a doctor mom were play on trampolines and ride ATVs. I regularly went on all-day on road bike rides without adult supervision, made bonfires, and once tried to make a canoe out of canvas and plywood and take it out on the lake (miserable failure). I assure you, I did not lead a sheltered childhood, nor do I plan on letting my kids have one!
posted by miyabo at 8:04 PM on September 9, 2010

Anecdotally, I've heard that the trampolines with nets are more likely to tip over and injure the kid that way.

If it starts sitting around and rusting, another good use for trampolines is laying on them to watch meteor showers or just to stargaze.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:45 PM on September 9, 2010

We have worn out three of them so far, in the last 10 years. All of them were net free and we have yet to have a serious incident.

I can guarantee that any child on a trampoline will have an expression of pure happiness.
posted by pianomover at 11:39 PM on September 9, 2010

We are on the second trampoline in our backyard. All of the kids in the family play on it. They bounce, the roll balls around on it, they talk on it, they use it as a clubhouse.

There have been on injuries on it.

There are a million things that could hurt your child but, do you deny everything that could? Does your daughter own a bike? She's more likely to be injured on a bike than a trampoline.
posted by SuzySmith at 8:36 AM on September 10, 2010

I love trampolines. I wish I had one now, as an adult. I would if I had the space.

When I was seven, my backyard neighbour and I set up our (big) trampolines with the back fence in between, and happily jumped over the fence from one to the other. Our younger siblings joined us and no one was hurt. We then did this with the sprinkler set up under the trampoline in summer, and had the time of our lives. I attribute much of my adult flexibility and spatial awareness to learning to jump over the fence (and doing flips and stuff) on that trampoline.

When I was about 12, I had the genius idea of setting up the trampoline so it was under the balcony, next to the pool, and jumped from the balcony to the trampoline and into the pool. It was brilliant fun. We did that every summer until we moved (to a house without a balcony or pool).

We never had any pads or a fence or anything, and no one ever got hurt. I wouldn't think twice about getting my kid a trampoline, and I'm honestly quite surprised at the question.
posted by welovelife at 12:25 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

12?! My youngest is 18 months and has no trouble on a trampoline.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:42 PM on September 10, 2010

Tell her she has to pay for part of it and see how much more pleading there is to get one.
posted by Fiat124 at 11:59 PM on September 15, 2010

I don't think the question was "will my 12-year-old have trouble on a trampoline."

Does it hurt to be that obtuse on purpose? Seriously, it looks like you have to strain a little.

The question was whether the OP was placing its offspring in danger by buying her a trampoline. And my answer was - very, very, very obviously to somebody not going out of their way to a bit of a twat - 'given that my 18 month old son appears to be able to use one without getting his heel wedged in his anus, then in my very humble opinion, the answer is 'almost certainly not'.

By all means, disagree with the conclusion - 'Why is your anecdote so special? Do you always reason from a sample of one?' and so forth - but do try to save the disingenuous snark for SWCGAF.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:28 AM on September 22, 2010

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