You might have heard the recent interview with celebrity cook Donna Hay. Donna recounts the day her 12 year old son was taken to hospital by paramedics with a suspected neck injury after an incident on the family trampoline.
Sadly, this is not uncommon. On average, there are just under 2000 trampling injuries reported in Australia every year.
Trampolines are a fantastic way for kids to get exercise and build their motor skills and coordination. They are also lots of fun! The important thing to remember is that whilst they are a fantastic addition to the backyard, there are certain things that dramatically increase the risk of injuries.
Remember when you were a kid and you would try to “double bounce” your siblings? Of the injuries associated with trampolines every year, more than half were fractures, often caused by being ‘double bounced’ - one jumped hits the mat, and is bounced up higher by the force of the other jumper landing. The smaller jumper is at risk of breaking a bone form the force. That is why one of the rules is only one jumper at a time!
Kidsafe recommend the following:
Only one user on the trampoline at a time
Supervise children using the trampoline at all times
Trampolines are not recommended for children under six years of age
Teach children how to correctly use the trampoline such as:
jumping in the centre of the bed
focussing their eyes on the trampoline bed as this will help control bounce
Adults should model safe behaviour on trampolines
Display clear safety signs such as “one at a time,” “bare feet only”, ”do not use when wet”, “do not jump onto or off the trampoline”
Keep toddlers away from the trampoline when in use to prevent them from going underneath the trampoline
A “spotter” can warn the trampoline user if they are moving off centre of the bed
Do not attach chairs, ladders or planks etc. to the trampoline
Take children to trampolining school to learn somersaults etc.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne recommend the following:
Provide a fence of not less than 1.5 metres in height to prevent unsupervised access. Clearance of 2.5 metres around the trampoline is necessary so that, should a user fall from the trampoline they do not land on the fence. Fencing should follow the recommendations for swimming pools or spas that include self latching gates.
Older children need to be closely supervised by an adult when using a trampoline.
Spring and frame pads should be used.
If the trampoline is outside and exposed to sun and rain, check regularly for signs of rusting and other damage.
References and further reading: