Trampolines, swing sets and other backyard play equipment can be scream-your-head-off fun, but also incredibly dangerous. So how do you keep your kids safe, and what can you do to protect yourself in case something happens? Here are some things you should know, and steps you can take to make your backyard a haven for safe play:
General tips for setup and use of play equipment:
- Set up play equipment or structures away from trees, power lines, grills and other potential hazards.
- Follow manufacturer's instructions for safe and proper setup.
- Test any play equipment before allowing your child to use it.
- Obey weight and height limits for the use of any play structures.
- Always, always supervise your kids.
If you're thinking of getting a trampoline:
Of all the play equipment possibilities, a trampoline is probably the most risky. Many child safety organizations recommend against them. But kids do love them, and if you're set on getting one, there are several things you can do to minimize their risks, right off the bat:
Talk to your insurance agent: Some homeowner's policies may not insure homes with trampolines or require a mandatory endorsement. Some insurance companies require additional safety precautions such as a safety net or a fenced in yard.
Consider an in ground trampoline: Experts agree that in ground trampolines are somewhat safer, because a child that falls off won't have quite as far to go. Although they take a little more effort to maintain and can't be moved as easily, an in ground trampoline may be worth the investment.
Use netting and padding: Make your trampoline as safe as possible by installing good-quality safety netting around it. You should also purchase some type of padding to cover the springs so that jumpers don't get caught or injured by falling onto the hard metal. (Some owners use pool noodles as a cheap, do-it-yourself padding option.)
Maintain your trampoline: It's important to regularly check your trampoline and safety accessories for damage and to make sure everything is installed and working properly. Keep the area around your trampoline free from debris, water and other potential hazards.
Keep it secure: Use a trampoline ladder and/or a fence to limit access to the trampoline when you're not around, and teach children to never use the trampoline unsupervised.
Safe jumping practices:
Once your trampoline is ready for fun, there are a few tried and true safety tips you should always follow:
- Don't allow children ages 6 and under to use the trampoline.
- Only one person should jump at a time.
- Teach kids not to bounce too high or do flips or somersaults.
- Keep kids from hanging on the safety netting around your trampoline.
- Don't allow kids to jump on a wet trampoline, or in bad weather.
Protection from risk or injury:
Most homeowner's policies will probably cover your trampoline or playground equipment, but only if it is properly maintained and the homeowner has taken reasonable safety measures. Some homeowner's policies explicitly exclude coverage for damages or injury caused by trampolines, so make sure to check with your agent to find out if you're covered.
For all of your home insurance questions, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.