As part of the Institut fr. Nihilism’s ten-year study on the sociology of the American family, a pilot project has studied the use, efficacy, dangers, and habitual abandonment of suburban and rural Americans’ family outdoor trampolines.
America’s families are in a state of advanced consumerist crisis, exemplified by the desperation of parents investing hundreds of dollars into outdoor trampolines that obscure their front, back, or side yards. These trampolines sit in constant idleness, having been used initially for two-to-three multiple child bouncy dates, then ignored and let sit outside as children and parents discovered the failing satisfaction of bounding on spring-loaded injury traps. These trampolines took multiple hours to assemble, and are difficult and expensive to disassemble and throw away, so the vast majority sit outside, in various stages of visible disrepair.
While seemingly well-intentioned, this common, panic-induced buying spree of trampolines reflected the increasing ill-health of America’s children, uninterested in extensive recreation, and now committed to couch-sitting and screen-gazing. Their parents needed outdoor activities that occupied non-custodial supervision and site-specific athletic exertion, but the downsides to trampolining should have been evident from the beginning. As the most authoritative study on back-yard trampolining by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012 attests,
TRAMPOLINE USE1. Pediatricians should counsel theirpatients and families againstrecreational trampoline use andexplain that current data indicatesafety measures have not significantly reduced injury rates andthat catastrophic injuries do occur. For families who persist inhome trampoline use despite thisrecommendation, pediatriciansshould advise parents and theirchildren on the following guide-lines until better informationbecomes available:a. Homeowners should verify thattheir insurance policies covertrampoline-related claims. Cover-age is highly variable and a ridermay need to be obtained.b. Trampoline use should be restricted to a single jumper onthe mat at any given time.c. Trampolines should have adequate protective padding that isin good condition and appropriately placed.d. Trampolines should be set atground level whenever possibleor on a level surface and in anarea cleared of any surrounding hazards.e. Frequent inspection and appropriate replacement of protectivepadding, net enclosure, and anyother damaged parts shouldoccur.f. Trampolines should be dis-carded if replacement partsare unavailable and the productis worn or damaged.g. Somersaults andflips areamong the most commoncauses of permanent and devastating cervical spine injuriesand should not be performed.