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“Everyone wants to have fun. Everyone wants to have fun with their children. You think you are being a good parent, spending time with your child, having fun – and the next thing you know your whole life changes.”


So opens the first post on Alisha Carlo’s The Fracture Factory, a blog where “it’s all fun and games until your kneecaps end up in your thighs.”

Carlo chronicles her family’s experiences with a local trampoline park – from her sister’s ACL tear, to Carlo’s self-imposed ban on family trips to the park, to her husband Jamie’s flouting of that ban, to Jamie’s bi-lateral patella tendon rupture (that’s a double kneecap injury) and long recovery.

The titular “Fracture Factory” comes from one of the nicknames the local hospital uses for the trampoline park. Others call it “The Fractury,” and some joke that the hospital’s surgeons must have invested in the trampoline park.

Carlo’s story has taught me all manner of things I wish I didn’t know. I now know to always read the seemingly routine liability waivers at family fun centers before signing. The waiver for the trampoline park near my home, for example, tells me that “Participants may die or become paralyzed, partially or fully, through their use of the Sky Zone facility and participation in Sky Zone activities.”

I now know that trampoline park injuries are on the rise, from 581 to 6,932 between 2010 and 2014. I now can’t un-know what kneecaps look like when they’re six inches out of place. In short, I now know to avoid trampolines.

At the same time, I’m also sensitive to the problems caused by campaigns to “boost awareness.” Many of these campaigns are problematic because the resulting awareness makes people scared of non-existent threats. I’ve made that argument about many awareness campaigns, whether the focus is moldy Sophiespuffy coats, or E. coli in raw cookie dough.

Trampolines may be one of the rare cases when parents actually need more awareness.

As toys, trampolines cause injury

Healthychildren.org, the parent-oriented website run by the American Academy of Pediatrics, offers simple advice about trampolines: “Don’t buy a trampoline for your home!”

Actually, the advice is even broader. The AAP recommends against trampolines in gym classes and on playgrounds and asserts that trampolines belong in “supervised training programs” only. That advice may seem like an overreaction to parents, especially when the most popular home trampolines have thousands of positive Amazon reviews.

It’s difficult to determine the overall risks posed by trampolines because we’re missing a denominator. As Slate’s Melinda Wenner Moyer points out, we have an estimate of how many injuries occur to kids under age 18.

In 2016, there were an estimated 103,512 emergency department visits as a result of trampolines. Although we could probably figure out how many trampolines are sold in the U.S., that number doesn’t tell us how safe trampolines are because we don’t know who exactly is jumping on them, or for how long.

Imagine, for example, that there were only 103,512 trampolines. In 2016, that would have meant an average one injury per trampoline. That would be pretty concerning.

But imagine there were 20 million trampolines, or, as Wenner Moyer suggests, 20 million trampoline jumping hours per trampoline. That would be concerning, but perhaps no more dangerous than many other forms of entertainment.

Without data on trampoline ownership and use, Wenner Moyer instead relies on injury rates. She compares the injury rates for playground equipment to the injury rates for trampolines and finds there were actually fewer playground injuries in 2016 than trampoline injuries.

“I don’t have any data on this,” Wenner Moyer admits, “but I suspect that American kids collectively spend a lot more time climbing on playgrounds than they do jumping on trampolines.”

It’s hard to determine exactly what proportion of trampoline users are likely to get injured, but it seems that they are being injured at a higher rate than playground users. Their resulting injuries tend to be more severe than those sustained on the playground.

Injuries like Carlo’s husband’s double patella tendon rupture aren’t freak accidents, but consequences of the physics of trampolines. As Wenner Moyer explains, if a young child lands on the trampoline just after it has moved upward from another jumper, the force is strong enough to break that child’s legs.

Wenner Moyer is not a killjoy out to ruin your fun with trampolines. She’s both an owner of a mini trampoline and a parent to young children, now “panic-wondering” about whether or not a trampoline constitutes an acceptable risk.

The goal of her excellent piece “is not to scare you into dumping your trampoline in the garbage; the point is to provide you with facts so that whatever decision you make will be informed, and so that you can minimize the danger by setting a few guidelines if you want.”

As sporting equipment, trampolines prevent injury

After reading about Carlo’s family’s experiences and Wenner Moyer’s analysis of trampoline safety, I won’t be buying a trampoline. My concern is not that trampolines are dangerous. Like Wenner Moyer, I see the value in kids’ risky play.

The problem with trampolines isn’t so much safety as it is categorization. Wenner Moyer categorized trampolines as toys, comparing them to playground equipment. But what if that’s the wrong comparison?

When we categorize trampolines as sporting equipment rather than toys, they start to look much different. Trampolines aren’t viewed as a danger to athletes. In fact, they’re often considered a safety device.

When you think of Olympic diving practice, you probably picture a pool. Most professional divers, however, do significant amounts of dry-land training. The training is, in part, a response to practical problems: If you can’t rent time at a swimming pool, you can still practice on the trampoline. But trampolines also help divers avoid injury while practicing new techniques.

Divers are not simply bouncing around. They use specialized equipment that allows them to practice dives without impact. Unlike amateur trampolinists, divers use spotting rigs when they practice on the trampoline, which allows them to perform complicated moves in safety. Essentially, they’re training at a Sky Zone…except they have safety equipment.

Divers aren’t the only Olympians who use trampolines as safe training devices. Freestyle aerial skiers put in a lot of practice on the trampoline before attempting their skills at death-defying heights.

One group that doesn’t use the trampoline to practice new skills is Olympic trampoliners. They practice new skills while firmly planted on the ground.

How to trampoline like a serious athlete

When treated as a toy, a trampoline can lead to serious injury and occasionally death. When treated as a piece of sporting equipment, a trampoline can make a dangerous sport less dangerous.

Parents and kids who want to keep their trampolines might do well to follow the safety guidelines that athletes do. For example, many athletes practice with a safety harness until they have mastered a particular skill.

Although a safety harness may not be a practical solution for home trampoline use, the following three safety rules can dramatically reduce the risk of injury:

1 | Jump one person at a time

This is the rule most likely to be broken by at-home users and the cause of the majority of trampoline-related injuries. If you review the Olympic training videos above, you’ll see that serious athletes never break this rule. That’s because there is real danger to life and limb when multiple people use a trampoline at the same time.

2 | Make it impossible to fall

Athletes don’t get injured from falling off trampolines. That’s not because athletes are better trained than backyard trampoliners. It’s because there is often nowhere to fall. Athletic training facilities use foam pits and other padded surfaces that make falling from a trampoline impossible.

3 | Don’t jump without supervision

A coach or trainer should always watching.

If your child complains about these rules, you can always remind her that following them may get her to the Olympics.

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like the heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends, which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent.

Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, it's more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby—in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued. Crisis averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it all through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

The fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so that there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas

www.pinterest.com

Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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