Backyard Trampoline Safety and a Homeowner's Liability

Trampolines help your kids burn off excess energy, and they're a great weight loss tool for you. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all consumers avoid using trampolines because unsafe use of this backyard toy can cause head and neck injuries, fractures and sprain. As a homeowner, don't set up a backyard trampoline until you find out more about your liability.

Check Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Trampolines are fun, but the expenses could quickly outweigh any enjoyment. Some insurance companies will not insure your home if you have a trampoline. They may either cancel your policy or exclude coverage for any trampoline-related injuries. Either way, you'll be personally liable for any injuries that occur.

Set It Up Properly

If your homeowners insurance policy does cover your trampoline, be sure you set it up properly as you increase its safe operation.

*Follow the manufacturer's instructions when setting up and using the trampoline.
*If possible, place the trampoline at ground level rather than above ground.
*Remove tree branches and other hazards located nearby.
*Provide adequate padding on the springs as you prevent pinching.
*Secure a safety net around the trampoline.
*Inspect the trampoline and all its parts regularly for wear and tear.

Provide Constant Supervision

Guests who are injured while using your trampoline can sue you. Be sure you provide constant supervision to ensure everyone practices safe jumping. That means only one person at a time should jump, and no one should do somersaults or flips, two major causes of spine injuries.

Fence-In Your Yard

You're liable for injuries that occur by anyone who uses your trampoline, even if the jumper doesn't have your permission or trespasses in your lawn. Protect yourself with a tall fence. It should have a self-latching lock on the gate for greater security.

Your family and friends can enjoy fun in your backyard thanks to your trampoline. Be sure to understand your liability, though, before you install one.

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