Safety and shopping tips for homeowners considering adding a trampoline to their yard.
Though they’ve been growing in popularity for a few years, purchases of home trampolines are on an upward trend, in part spurred by their presence in the summer Olympics. The trampoline was christened an official Olympic sport in 2000, but it was the 2008 summer games that really captured a following.
“It was on TV this time at a better time slot and for more hours,” says Ann Sims, senior program director for USA Gymnastics. “We’ve been hearing gym owners say they’re experiencing record interest.”
Are you thinking of jumping on the trampoline bandwagon? Take a look at what our experts had to say on the subject.
1. Safety first. Trampolines aren’t all fun and games; they can be a risky business. Most professional organizations won’t officially support home trampolines. From a personal stance, however, they will say that if you do bring a trampoline onto your property, there are certain “nevers” to keep in mind.
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• Never let more than one person jump at a time.
• Never flip.
• Never jump unsupervised.
• Never jump onto a trampoline from another surface.
“It sounds ridiculous, but just imagine your typical group of 15-year-old boys,” Sims says.
2. Look at your lay of the land. “Consider the space available in your backyard before you even go to purchase a trampoline,” says Michael Colling, president of trampoline retailer Skywalker Trampolines. The surface beneath a trampoline should be as flat and as soft as possible. Allow at least 3 feet of clear area around the outside edges and at least 24 feet of overhead clearance. Clear the immediate area of all objects, such as rocks.
3. Consider shape, size and spring. According to Dick’s Sporting Goods, trampolines tend to come in five shapes (round, square, rectangular, oval and octagonal), and range from 6- to 17-feet in diameter. Round is the shape most commonly found in retail stores, as it is designed to keep the jumper safely in the middle of the apparatus. Rectangular versions are typically reserved for gyms and athletes. The number of springs determines the trampoline’s bounce.
“The more springs you have on a trampoline, the more jump you’re going to have,” Colling says. “On a 15-foot round, for example, you will see anywhere from 70 to 96 springs.”
4. Be weather-wary. Avoid jumping in gusty winds at all times. Dampness is another no-no. Moisture will damage the trampoline in the best-case scenario — and damage you. You’ll find that all trampoline springs have a cushioned covering. The fabric used, however, can vary — either PVC or polyethylene (PE). PVC is more durable/weather-resistant.
5. Think about extras. Vinyl trampoline covers are typically sold where trampolines are sold and are an effective way to keep the equipment dry. Mesh rings, another popular accessory, act as a safety enclosure and are “highly recommended,” Colling says.