Last summer we visited relatives in Vancouver who are proud owners of a trampoline and two dogs. After watching our kids spend hours jumping on the tramp, and walking and petting the pups — and thus rarely bugging us for anything — I had an epiphany. I said to Blake: “If we buy a trampoline and a dog, we’ll never have to parent again!”
Fast forward to 10 days ago and the Canadian Tire flyer advertising Springfree trampolines on sale. I am not one to be sucked in by flyers, but it’s almost summer and the children are about to be unleashed upon me for nine weeks. When I yell at them to, “Go outside and play!” I want them to skedaddle, and quick.
Still, I have mixed feelings about trampolines — I worry a neighbour’s child will do a flip on it and break her neck; that kind of thing. A Springfree tramp is supposed to be the safest kind since it lacks both a metal frame and springs, which together account for 70 percent of trampoline injuries. We watched the Springfree video and decided it was probably worth the extra money. (Yes, even on sale they’re expensive, more than a dog probably, but once my husband set it up it would be way less work than a puppy, I figured.)
It’s been assembled for a day now and the kids love it. A net encloses the entire thing and even zippers shut so Bennett can’t accidentally bounce out. I had a tramp as a kid and am astonished my parents let me jump on it unsupervised. No net. Metal frame covered by thin pads. Springs on all sides waiting to pinch and maim. It was a death trap and I’m lucky to still be here.
Now, in spite of all the advances in trampoline safety and technology, some parents still hate them and think they are dangerous. To prevent injuries you’re supposed to follow certain rules like:
- No bouncing the dog (WTF?)
- No flipping unless you know how
- Only one boucer at a time
This final rule will be a problem in our house. Both kids want to jump at the same time. All. The. Time. Bennett even snuck out of the house after dinner — naked! — to bounce. Blake: “Where’s Bennett?” Me: “I don’t know, isn’t he with you?” Blake: “Um…nooo…” I looked out Avery’s window and there he was, jumping all free and unemcumbered.
Yes, there’s freedom in a trampoline, for the kids and for us. We can sit at our patio table, sip mojitos, enjoy adult conversation and occasionally glance up to make sure the kids aren’t bouncing the neighbour’s black lab puppy while attempting flips.