When the warmer weather arrives you may be thinking about buying a trampoline for the garden. There are many good things about trampolining - they are a good form of healthy exercise as well as being great fun.
However according to RoSPA’s accident figures for 2002 11,500 people in the UK went to hospital after an accident with a trampoline – up 50% over a five-year period - with 4,200 of them being under-15.
Tellingly, approximately 75% of injuries occur when more than one person is on the trampoline. The person weighing less is five times more likely to be injured and children under six years old are particularly vulnerable to injury. Adult supervision is no guarantee of safety - more than half of all trampoline accidents occur whilst under supervision. However a trained ‘spotter’ can greatly reduce this risk.
Here is RoSPA’s advice to parents who are considering getting a trampoline
- Buy safety pads, or ensure that the model comes with safety pads that completely cover the springs, hooks and the frame. The pad should be a contrasting colour to the mat.
- Consider models that have safety netting as part of the design, or purchase a safety cage when you buy the trampoline this will reduce the chance of your child falling of the trampoline and striking the ground.
- Choose a clear area, which is clear from hazards such as trees, fences, washing lines, poles or other equipment. Ideally there should be a safe fall zone completely around the trampoline of at least 2.5 metres. This means also removing bikes, skateboards and other toys that could be a hazard.
- Place the trampoline on soft energy absorbing ground (i.e. soft and springy lawn or bark wood chip, sand or cushioning materials).
- Never place the trampoline on a hard surface (i.e. concrete, hard packed mud) without some form of crash matting or safety netting.
- Never use a ladder with the trampoline because it provides unsupervised access by small children.
- Never allow more than one person on the trampoline at the same time – even of the manufacturer says that the trampoline is suitable for more than one person.
- Children under 6 must only use trampolines designed for their age range and size, trampolines are not suitable for very young children and toddlers.
- Always supervise children.
- No somersaults - go to a properly organised club if you want to try more complicated moves.
- Never allow the use of bouncing to exit the trampoline.
RoSPA also recommend that you set rules for using the trampoline (see below) and discuss them with your children. Tell your children about the risks of not using the trampoline properly. Have your children remove jewellery, necklaces and clothing that may catch. Inspect the trampoline before each use to make there are no holes or that the frame has not become damaged. Also check that the padding is correctly and securely positioned and the leg braces are locked.
Rules for children
- My turn! One person at a time, at all times.
- No somersaults! Don’t try risky stunts like somersaults and flips
- Always bounce in the middle of the trampoline
- Never jump off! You could hurt yourself by jumping off the trampoline onto the ground. To get off, stop bouncing and then climb down.
- Stand back! Keep away from the trampoline when someone else is jumping
- Watch out underneath! Never go under the trampoline when someone else is jumping.
- Out of bounds! Don’t use the trampoline if you see a rip or split in the mat, or if the padding has come away from the metal springs. Tell an adult.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.