Small in size and easy to access, mini trampolines attract children -- not to mention the almost irresistible jumping fun these tiny bouncers promise. Meant for adults to use as an exercise tool, these mini trampolines may seem harmless. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents never allow children to use mini trampolines because of the high incidence of injury. Large-size trampolines and the seemingly safer mini versions carry similar risks, and safety-minded parents should provide alternate means of fun and exercise at home.
Injury patterns occurring on mini trampolines are similar to full-size trampoline injuries, according to research published in Pediatrics. In a comparison of 137 mini trampoline injuries with 143 full-sized trampoline injuries, researchers found that children under age 6 were more likely to get injured on a mini trampoline than a full-size version. Full-sized trampolines were more likely to result in hospitalization than mini trampoline injuries. The most common mini trampoline injuries were head lacerations for children under age 6. Lower extremity strains and sprains were more common in children older than 6.
A Portable Option
With about a 40-inch diameter, mini-trampolines measure considerably smaller than the full-size version. Minis have just enough room for an adult to stand and jump. Meant for indoor use, they store easily in a closet. Some versions come with a handrail for stability. The better quality mini trampolines come with five removable legs instead of four, so the trampoline does not move while in use.
Blame Bad Landings
Trampoline injuries happen quickly and even occur with parents supervising. Common ways children get injured include falling off the trampoline, landing on the springs or just landing wrong. Attempting stunts like flips or somersaults should never be allowed, as the risk of head and neck injury is high with this type of activity, warns the American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website.
A parent concerned about children getting exercise has many options besides a mini trampoline. Encourage kids to join a sports team, bike, hike or even go outside and play catch. For parents who choose to allow mini trampolines, the following tips can improve safety. Allow only one child at a time on the trampoline. Make sure the springs and frame have a padded cover. Always have adult supervision. In addition, make sure the trampoline is placed in a clear area where a child won't strike an object if he falls off the trampoline.