Pretty much every kid loves a trampoline.
They are fun, good exercise and they will keep the little ones entertained for a good couple of hours.
What isn’t there to like?
Well, they can be a safety risk, and that risk is probably increased without suitable precautions being taken.
And it is one of those precautions we are going to look at today, more specifically, is it illegal to have a trampoline without a net?
So let’s jump in (pun intended)…
Is It Illegal To Have A Trampoline Without A Net?
No it isn’t illegal to have a trampoline without a net, but it might be required if your insurance company is going to cover it in your homeowners’ insurance. Having a net up around your trampoline makes it safer, and it does give you more protection from legal issues that might arise should there be an accident.
Trampolines Without Nets: What You Need to Know
Having a trampoline without a net is extremely unlikely to be illegal in the area where you live, although it is still worth checking with your local authority.
However the real problem is likely to come with your insurance company and any possible ensuing legal issues.
Let’s first deal with the insurance side of things.
Insurance companies are generally very wary of trampolines, and for good reason.
According to the most recent set of statistics to hand from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were around 300,000 trampoline-related injuries in 2018.
Around 100,000 of these resulted in a visit to the emergency room, and 95% of injuries occurred at home, with nearly all suffered by children aged 5 to 14.
If you are considering installing a trampoline on your property you should always talk to your insurance company first.
They are then likely to handle the situation in one of three ways:
- No Restrictions: The insurance company will allow you to add a trampoline to your insurance policy without any issues, but will keep a close eye on any claims, etc.
- Coverage With Safety Precautions: The insurance company will allow you to add the trampoline to your insurance policy, providing some safety precautions are followed. For instance they might require your yard to be fenced or to have a lockable gate, for the trampoline to be anchored into the ground and, to go back to the title question, they might require it to have a net.
- No Coverage: Trampolines will be excluded from your homeowners’ insurance, so any damage or injuries that occur when using the trampoline will not be covered.
Speak to your insurance company first and see which line they follow, and any impact it might have on your insurance rates.
Are Trampolines Without Nets Safe From a Legal Standpoint?
Whilst having a trampoline without a net isn’t illegal, it can create some legal issues.
As we have already seen in this blog, trampolines are the cause of a lot of injuries each year.
The vast majority are not serious, but the concern of course would be someone else’s child having an accident on your trampoline that results in serious injury.
You could be considered negligent, particularly if there is no net up around the trampoline.
As the trampoline owner you are liable for any injuries that occur on or around the trampoline.
You could even be held liable if a child in your neighborhood effectively trespasses and injures themselves using a trampoline on your property.
In short the more measures you take to make sure the trampoline is safe and protected, the more any potential legal issues from accidents will be mitigated.
- Homeowner A: You have an open front yard, with no fence around it and a big, freestanding, trampoline in the center of it with no net.
- Homeowner B: You have a fence and lockable gate around your front yard, you have a trampoline in your back garden with netting around it that is anchored into the ground.
Who do you think is more likely to be deemed negligent in court should a serious accident occur?
Having a net up around your trampoline makes it safer and makes any legal issues more defendable.
So Does That Mean Trampolines With Nets Are Safe?
No, it means they are safer.
Injuries will still occur even on a trampoline with a net, but if you install a net and follow a few other safety guidelines it means they are less likely to occur, and more likely to be less serious if they do occur.
The CPSC also advises:
- Only allow one person on a trampoline at a time. Of course this can be difficult to enforce with a bunch of excited kids, but make sure you limit the numbers as much as possible.
- Supervise children using a trampoline whenever possible.
- Make sure the trampoline has shock adsorbing pads that cover its springs.
- Make sure the trampoline is positioned away from structures, trees and other possible obstructions.
- Do not allow children under six years of age to use a full-sized trampoline.
- Tell kids not to try to do somersaults.
As you can see it isn’t illegal to have a trampoline without a net, but it can open you up to all kinds of problems.
Not least with your insurance company and then any lawyers should an accident occur on a trampoline without a net.
Think of it this way, when I ride my bike I wear a helmet.
Not because I think I will fall off of my bike, but because it provides some protection just in case I do.
A net around a trampoline serves the same purpose.
It makes it safer should an incident occur, and could prevent or certainly reduce the likelihood of serious injury.
Also before you add a trampoline to your garden consult with your insurance company, as they might not cover it or it might push up your premiums significantly.
But if you do install a trampoline you want to take every measure to make it as safe as possible.