It is common for cheerleaders to use a trampoline while practicing stunts, gymnastics, tumbling and jumps. This method of practice is not always recommended in a home setting because the landing is different on a trampoline vs a mat and because of the safety concerns if the person is not fully supervised. There's no doubt that some cheerleaders will continue to use home trampolines unsupervised and if you fall into this category, please continuing reading this article so you'll be knowledgeable on the safety of trampolines and the proper way to use one.
Every year thousands of parents buy their children trampolines without giving much thought to the safe use of this product. I speak from my own personal experience on this matter and when we bought our children a trampoline, safety never entered my mind until it was bought, set up and the kids were playing on it. I've since found out that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) considers them so high risk for injuries that they recommend that they should never be used at home or in outdoor playgrounds. The AAP only supports the limited use of trampolines in gymnastics and diving training with strict supervision and safety guidelines. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has even gotten involved by issuing a consumer product safety alert for trampolines. They estimate that in 2001 over 91,000 hospital emergency room-treated injuries were associated with trampolines and that most of these injuries were caused by home trampolines being used improperly. The majority of the injuries were caused by:
- People colliding with one another on the trampoline.
- Improper landing while jumping or doing stunts on the trampoline.
- Jumping off or falling off of the trampoline.
- Hitting or falling on the trampoline springs or frame.
- Children should always be supervised while using a trampoline.
- Only one person should be allowed on the trampoline at a time.
- Children under the age of 6 should not use a full-size trampoline.
- You should not allow somersaults on the trampoline.
- Do not allow the trampoline to be used without padding that completely covers the springs, hooks and the frame.
- You should place the trampoline away from structures, trees and other play areas.
- Never put a or use a ladder with the trampoline because it provides unsupervised access by small children.
- Trampoline net enclosures can actually prevent injuries by keeping people from falling off the trampoline.
- Ensure your trampoline is properly assembled in a level area.
- Never allow people to jump off a trampoline, always insist that they climb off.
- Keep your bouncing low and under control. Try to consistently land in the center of the trampoline.
- Respect your physical limitations and abilities. Avoid bouncing for long periods of time and do not bounce when tired or short of breath. Do not bounce if you are pregnant or have circulatory ailments.
- Never attempt flips, stunts or tricks.
- Do not attempt back flips, somersaults or twisting somersaults.
- Do not wear jewelry while jumping. Remove sharp objects from your pockets.
- Do not use your backyard trampoline when under the influence of alcohol nor any drug or medication.
There's no doubt that these rules are restrictive, but as with anything dealing with cheerleading, it is a whole lot better to prevent injuries than to have to treat an injury. Learning the correct and safe way to accomplish a skill will ensure you have a successful and long career as a cheerleader.