Trampolines have quickly become the must have fun and fitness accessories. But as trampoline ownership has spread so the number of trampoline related injuries have also increased.
The UK based Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) figures tell us that, in 2002, 11,500 people went to hospital after being involved in a trampoline accident. This number was a 50% increase on the previous year and has been increasing ever since. Approximately 75% of injuries took place when there were 2 or more people on the trampoline and the smallest or least heavy person is five times more likely to be injured. A particularly worrying statistic for parents is that children under the age of six are the most vulnerable.
Injuries vary from minor grazes, bruises, strains and whip lash, to broken bones and more serious injuries including paralysis and even death.
The Chartered Institute of Physiotherapy have published some common-sense safety guidelines that anyone owning a garden trampoline should be familiar with.
To avoid injuries they recommend:
- Stretching before and after trampolining
- Don't push your body too far when trampolining to avoid muscle strain
- Control your bouncing and don't go too high
- Never attempt somersaults or flips as awkward landings can have serious consequences.
Their twelve point safety advice for trampolines is:
- If possible set the trampoline in a hole, with the mat at ground level, to reduce the distance the user could fall.
- Always keep trampolines clear of fences, trees and any other yard or play equipment. Erect safety netting around the trampoline perimeter to stop users from falling off.
- Ensure trampoline has a securely fastened frame pad to cover the entire spring system, hooks and frame
- Place cushioning material (such as wood chips, sand or soft lawn) under and around the trampoline
- Check the wear and tear on the trampoline mat and springs before use
- Use the trampoline only when the mat is completely dry
- Children should always be supervised by an adult. It is not advised that children under age six use large trampolines
- Only one person should use the trampoline at a time
- Users should always jump in the middle of the mat
- Never exit the trampoline by bouncing off - climb on and off carefully
- Users should remove all jewellery, buckles or anything that might catch and should not wear hard shoes; socks should be non-slip
- Never sit or crawl under the trampoline
Another aspect that must be considered is the quality of the trampoline itself. The current popularity of trampolining means that there is an abundance of cheap trampolines that may actually be unsafe and not meet basic safety standards.
Always check that your chosen trampoline complies with safety regulations and is an appropriate size for your garden or yard.