How to Keep a Trampoline Pad From Drying Out
Sporting goods stores sell high-, mid- and low-quality trampolines; some with super-grade polypropelyne jump beds treated with anti-ultraviolet coatings to prevent sun damage, others come with thin vinyl covers that dry out fast. The jumping bed, also called a trampoline pad, is a durable, taut sheet of canvas that sits on top of a trampoline and is attached to a galvanized metal frame with springs for gymnastic jumping and tumbling. Bouncing on the trampoline provides great fun for adults and kids through the seasons, but all that fun takes its toll on the jumping pad. Cleaning and storing the trampoline properly extends its longevity.
Cover the trampoline pad with a weather cover or tarpaulin to protect the mat from drying out. Harsh, ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage even the most durable mats, drying out the fabric in areas that eventually become dangerous holes jumpers can fall through. The cover prevents other wear and tear such as animal droppings, leaves and dirt ,and debris.
Clean the trampoline pad regularly with the proper conditioner that prevents fading and material degradation. Apply the cleaner according to directions. Vinyl cleaners should be free of harsh chemicals, odorless and environmentally safe/biodegradable. The cleaner should rinse off well, leaving no residue that can dry and damage the mat in combination with UV exposure. Use caution with products that contain bleach. Bleach products can accelerate dryness. Some products contain a natural carnauba protective coating that might help the trampoline pad retain moisture.
Store your trampoline mat when not it use. Most trampolines are built to stand up to all kinds of weather throughout the year. Winterize the trampoline mat by cleaning and conditioning before covering it for storage. Store the pad in its original box indoors or wrapped and anchored outdoors. Lay several dryer sheets over the pad before storing it in a tarpaulin or storage tote. Wrapping and covering the mat prevents frost from damaging the vinyl in cold regions. Secure the mat to an exterior wall or to the ground with an anchor kit if you live in a windy region.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons warns that trampolining can be hazardous, citing domestic and international research that claims trampolines should not be used in the home environment, outdoor playgrounds or physical education classes. “Trampoline injuries are common even for athletes with substantial training,” reports the AAOS. Following safety measures can help prevent serious injury resulting from using a trampoline, however, AAOS says the amount of diligence needed to maintain the trampoline mat and other parts requires expertise and lots of time that the average trampoline owner might lack.
Tina Boyle has been writing since 2000. Trained as a journalist, she has traveled to over 150 US cities. She specializes in travel, culture, pets, business and social networking and regularly publishes in newspapers, magazines and on Web sites. She received a Bachelor of Arts in writing from the College of Santa Fe.