In praise of trampolines

You’re thinking of buying a trampoline, aren’t you? You should.

Here are some thoughts:

Cons:

  • Every once in a while, someone’s tooth gets embedded in someone else’s skull and the sound of your child’s femur snapping in half will haunt you for the rest of your days. 
  • Passing truckers will honk at you.

Pros:

  • It’s really, truly fun for all ages. As long as your neck is strong enough to support your head, you can have some kind of good time on a trampoline, whether it’s gently bopping a little baby up and down, or turning ridiculous back flips designed to freak your mother out, or just gingerly springing up and down like a big gooney gooneybird. Also popular: running as fast as you can in a circle while chasing a shrieking toddler. Optional: pretending you’re on the moon.
  • It’s a great aid to those “Play with us, Mama!” “games” where you get to lie down. They climb on you and roll around and, because of the motion of the trampoline, they think you’re participating. You can call it the tiger game or the mummy game or the digging up dinosaur game, whatever, as long as you get to lie down in the sun and call it “parenting.”
  • It is damn near impossible to bounce for five minutes and still be mad when you get off.
  • There is no better sound than the sound that can float in through the window than the sound of previously surly, gloomy, crabby, sullen kids suddenly shouting and laughing together.
  • People look hilarious trying to get off a trampoline.
  • If you are pregnant and want to go into labor, it won’t actually unless the baby is ready; but, again, you look hilarious.
  • You always know the answer to the question, “What will we do with all these party guests?”
  • If you’re completely the most amazing parents ever, you will also add a sprinkler and a boatload of water balloons to said party activity.
  • No little kid can say “trampoline.” “Troppineen,” yes. “Chapoline,” probably. “Boing,” definitely. It’s cute. Cute is good. 
  • Add a trampoline to any formal photo shoot and get instant drama (poofy skirts and long hair are a bonus).
  • It’s the best possible viewing spot for a meteor shower. You can also rest a little cocktail on your collarbone and pretend you’re watching a meteor shower, as long as it’s not actually pouring rain.
  • Passing truckers will honk at you.

In conclusion:

  • You should get a trampoline.

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10 thoughts on “In praise of trampolines”

  1. My parents had the genius idea of digging a pit to house our trampoline meaning you could run straight onto it. The only major issue we had was when we had to replace the matting and it was a great big hole in the ground. One brother’s thickey-thicket mcdumbass teenage mates managed to fall in and split his head open on dirt AFTER we said, “watch out for the great big hole in the ground.” Other than the occasional head clash, it was perfect for home wrestling matches, rugby tackle practice, Star Wars force/lightsaber fights and it was perfectly accessible to the toddlers supervised zealously by older siblings.

    Shit happens to kids who attempt push the limits on a trampoline. Out of curiosity, I’d love to know percentage of trampoline accidents are boys that began with “hold my cordial…”

  2. Trampolines are great! Its the one thing my kids constantly want to play on, no matter their age. Hooray for trampolines!

  3. I work in a pediatric division in academic medicine… no responsible pediatrician would recommend allowing a toddler on a trampoline. You are also incorrect about backyard pools. The injury rate for backyard pools and trampolines is about the same. Tackle football on the other hand, is safer.

    The post describes a toddler on a trampoline, sending kids out to use a trampoline unsupervised, a baby on a trampoline, doing somersaults on a trampoline, laying on a trampoline while others bounce, multiple people on a trampoline – all “extra” unsafe ways to use trampolines at home. Not to blame anyone, because most parents don’t realize. But if now you know better you can do better.

    If a parent is committed to constant vigilance (the same kind given when children are in water – not leaving them alone “for a minute” and so on), letting one child on at a time, no kids under 6, no flips or tricks, disassembling the trampoline when not in use so it can’t be used when unsupervised – good for them.

    Hopefully most parents who commit to “safer” trampoline use will see it as a lot less fun and skip getting one altogether. Especially during this time when hospitalizations for even minor fractures are especially difficult and scary.

    1. Take some deep breaths, Eliza. Most parents who have a trampoline have reasonable rules. I have had one for 5 years and have had no major accidents. A few bloody noses, but those are normal for us off of the trampoline. Some of your suggestions are a bit unreasonable…who is going to disassemble a giant trampoline after each use? Also, I agree with Simcha, it is completely adorable to hear little toddlers say, “champoline”. My toddler prays every night during evening prayers that she can, “jump on champoline tomorrow”.

      1. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend disassembling trampolines when not in use. If you have a larger one you could remove the ladder to cut off access. AAP and AAOS have sections of their websites devoted to discouraging home trampoline use and suggestions to make it safer for those who insist. Just have as much anxiety about a trampoline in the backyard as you would a pool. The injury rate for children is about the same. You may not know this but trampolines are sold out across the country since the pandemic. Thousands of kids are having new exposure to this high risk activity during a public health emergency. One would think, if the peer review process in multiple pediatric specialties says “this is not good for your children, the risks are too great, they outweigh potential benefits, it’s dangerous” people would listen. But we live in a time when it’s fashionable to disregard public health advice. It’s extremely frustrating. Especially to see healthy young children suffering and sometimes permanently disabled simply because their parents decided they knew better than doctors. If parents are reading this, at least they can’t say they didn’t know. Maybe some of them will become anxious and guilty enough to get rid of the trampoline. Or at least start keeping those “unreasonable” rules the AAP suggests. Maybe one less child will have a complete c7 injury. I’ll take it.

  4. Trampolines can be used safely.
    Nothing in this article encourages unsafe trampoline use.
    Backyard pools are far more dangerous.
    Many things that children play with outdoors can cause injury (sticks, rocks, climbing trees, etc). Responsible parents will supervise and teach safety rules.
    FYI, I am a pediatrician.

  5. Please don’t buy trampolines for home use… especially now when hospitalization is risky and difficult (only 1 parent allowed with a child.) The AAP strongly discourages home trampolines and orthopedic surgeons say kids under 6 should NEVER use them even in “professional” settings. Even mini trampolines are the cause of so many catastrophic injuries. Even if you are a free range parent – even if you aregoing nuts with kids in the house during the quarantine PLEASE do not engage in this activity during this time. You really don’t want a kid needing a trip to the ER right now!

  6. My parents got our kids a trampoline when they were young. We wore out one mat and bought another – which is probably going to the landfill this summer. It was great! Lots of neighbor kids used it too. One of the best gifts grandparents can give.

    1. Give something safe please! At least during the pandemic when we are all trying to do things to ease the strain on our medical system!

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