With millions of Americans now trapped at home due to the COVID-19 crisis, parents are growing increasingly desperate to keep their children entertained. As such, many are investing in on-site entertainment to keep their kids occupied.
If you're in a similar boat, the idea of installing a backyard trampoline may have crossed your mind. That way, your kids can bounce around to their hearts' content, and just as importantly, tire themselves out so that your job as a parent ultimately becomes easier, at least temporarily.
But is a backyard trampoline really a smart idea?
The pitfalls of a backyard trampoline
If you have restless kids, a trampoline may seem like a lifesaver. But before you spend the money on one, think about the repercussions.
For one thing, your kids could get seriously hurt, especially if you have more than one jumper bouncing around at once. Also, your kids may be tempted to do tricks while jumping on that trampoline -- think flips, somersaults, and the other cool stuff they picked up during gymnastics classes. One wrong move, and you could have an emergency room visit on your hands.
But it's not just your children who risk injury. If your yard isn't fenced and a passing child spies your trampoline and trespasses to try it out, you could have a serious problem on your hands if that child gets hurt. It's for this reason that a backyard trampoline could cause your homeowners insurance costs to go up. That trampoline may be regarded as an attractive nuisance -- a home feature that could attract people to your property and increase the risk of personal injury on it. Swimming pools, for the record, often fall into the same category.
On a less serious note, a backyard trampoline can destroy the grass beneath it by virtue of blocking sunlight. As such, once your family outgrows that trampoline, you may have to sink some money into fixing your yard back up.
Finally, jumping on a trampoline requires a lot of energy exertion. You may find that you spend a good amount of money to put one in, only to have your kids use it for five or 10 minutes at a time and then call it quits.
Should you get a backyard trampoline?
If you trust your children to use a trampoline safely, or you know that you have the capacity to watch them on it at all times, then you may want to move forward and install one. But before you do, find out:
- Does your town require a permit for a trampoline? And if so, can you even get one right now because of the ongoing crisis? (This may not be an issue under normal circumstances.)
- Are there other requirements you'll need to meet, like having a fenced-in yard?
- Will a trampoline pose problems with your homeowners insurance company?
Do your research so you know what you're getting into -- with the understanding that the risk of injury to your kids always exists, even if you take steps to be careful.