The kids might be ready to go out and play, but the sun has been beating down. Sunscreen has been liberally applied, and the kids have run out despite the heat. But they run back in again, saying they can’t even get on the trampoline as the metal is too hot to touch, and the black trampoline mat is burning their feet. Can this be right? How hot can a trampoline get?
Trampolines can get very hot in the sun, heating up to 140°F – 250°F on a dry still day. The metal frame and black mat absorb radiant energy from the sun faster than they can lose it. So, the trampoline gets burning hot over a short period of time. To cool it quickly, use a sprinkler.
I must admit, I had a lot of questions about this. Why do trampolines get hot in the sun? How can I cool my trampoline down in summer? How can I protect the kids from a hot trampoline?
Why Do Trampolines Get Hotter Than The Air Temperature?
Radiant energy from the sun passes through the air molecules, without heating them up. The air can be heated a little by infrared radiation (more specifically, the water and carbon dioxide molecules can be heated), but this is very small compared to the entirety of the air.
When the radiant energy hits the metal of the trampoline frame, most of it is reflected and the rest of it absorbed.
The metal then converts this energy into thermal energy, and so the metal heats up. Depending on a number of factors, such as the ambient temperature, the type of metal, how much wind, even the amount of ozone and pollutants in the atmosphere, the metal can heat up a great deal.
Some of this thermal energy then radiates out of the metal into the surrounding air.
If the air is very still, it will reach close to equilibrium quickly, and so very little heat will leave the metal. If there is a brisk wind, the warmer air molecules will be blown away, and more heat will leave the metal. This is known as the heat transfer coefficient.
What Is The Problem With The Trampoline Getting Too Hot?
When a trampoline gets too hot, it’s almost impossible to get on it, let alone bounce on it. The metal is hot to touch, and it can feel like your feet burn when you’re on the mat. It’s worse than walking on hot sand!
The parts of the trampoline that get too hot include the metal frame, the metal zipper on the safety net, and the mat.
It’s not just uncomfortable though. It can be dangerous. It’s possible to get first degree burns on the hot metal frame of a trampoline.
Is There Any Benefit To A Trampoline Getting Hot?
When the trampoline gets hot, it doesn’t seem like there’s any advantage. However, there might be some advantage given how the metal springs conduct heat.
The springs will extend more when they are hot. This means that the springs will give a deeper bounce when the trampoline frame gets hot. You might even jump higher!
How Hot is Too Hot to Jump On A Trampoline?
Anything above 100°F is probably too hot for little kids to touch, and above 105°F for teens.
There are some states where people regularly take down their trampolines in summer, such as Arizona and Texas. The sun just beats down too much, and the trampoline is too hot outside of the very early morning.
But there are things you can do to cool the trampoline down in the summer heat, so read on.
How To Cool Down A Hot Trampoline In Summer?
If you are determined to cool your trampoline down, there are solutions. I would put a water sprinkler over the trampoline to cool it down.
It’s fine to get a trampoline wet, after all, they are designed for the outdoor elements.
The water will help conduct the heat out of the metal faster, and it will then evaporate or fall away.
If you want to go all out, bring out a big air fan (well away from the water sprinkler), and blow air over it. It might look like a film studio where they try to make artificial wind.
The fan will blow the hot air away quicker, allowing the metal to cool down to the air around it.
The sprinkler alone should cool the trampoline down enough to jump on it.
How To Protect Your Trampoline From The Sun’s Heat
Move it to the Shade
The simplest way to protect your trampoline from the sun’s hot rays is to move it to a shady area. This might be under the trees, or even inside a barn.
The added benefit of this is that you are protecting the trampoline from exposure to UV light. Prolonged exposure to UV light does start to break down the trampoline mat.
You can tell if your trampoline is starting to break down in the UV light when the kids’ feet start to turn black (LINK: https://goforthkids.com/feet-turning-black-on-a-trampoline/).
Use a Tarpaulin or Mat Cover on the Mat
If you know that you or the kids will be jumping on the trampoline later in the day, you can protect it from the heat, at least a little.
If you don’t have a safety net, you can put a tarpaulin or trampoline cover across the mat and frame. This works just like putting a towel over the car steering wheel when you leave it in the sun.
It protects the metal from the heat of the sun’s rays. As the metal doesn’t absorb as much of the sun, it doesn’t have as much thermal energy, and doesn’t get as hot.
Use a Sun Shade or Canopy on the Safety Net
If you have a safety net, you might find it awkward to repeatedly put a tarp over the mat through the zipper, and pull it off again every time you want to use it.
You can also use a sun canopy or sun shade. Sometime, high end brands have these that are specifically designed for their specific trampolines.
The sun canopy or shade cover can be perfect for little kids, as they won’t bounce high enough to hit their heads.
However, teens and adults will almost always need the sun cover removed so that they don’t hit their heads when they jump.
Use Spring Pads Around the Frame
By using spring pads over the frame, you can protect a good deal of the metal frame from the heat of the sun.
It will only protect the frame where it is covered, so still watch out for metal ladders and zipper attachments.
A trampoline can get very hot in the sun, hot enough for it to burn. If you want to cool the trampoline down quickly, a water sprinkler will work best.