Trampolines are a feature in many Australian backyards, and remain a popular and fun recreational activity for kids all over the country. It’s important for our kids to play outside and be active, however many of us don’t consider the risks and dangers of trampolines if they haven’t been made to Australian safety standards. It is vital that you ensure trampolines are completely safe before allowing your kids to play on them.
Trampolines should not just be treated as toys; they are classified as sporting equipment, and as such require due care and attention.
In order to ensure your kids are safe when buying and using trampolines, here are a few tips to follow:
When you are purchasing a trampoline, ensure that it meets the Australian Standard (AS 4989-2006). It should also have padding on all springs and on the exposed frame. It may also have additional features such as a safety net.
One at a time
Only one child should be allowed to use a trampoline at any given time. Because bodies become airborne on a trampoline, there is a lack of control and a high risk that mid air collisions can occur, resulting in head injuries and other serious fractures.
Watch them closely
Always maintain strong supervision of your children when they are on a trampoline. It is often recommended that children under six are not permitted to use trampolines, but if they do then it’s crucial you watch them closely as they are at a much higher risk of injury. Also watch other children nearby to make sure they don’t venture underneath the trampoline while in use, as this can also cause significant injury.
Ensure that you have full padding around the trampoline, as any exposed surfaces or springs can cause serious injury if someone lands on them. Due to the lack of control in the air, it’s easy for a child to bounce off centre and fall on a sharp or hard surface.
Special purpose padding should therefore be installed to protect from this, and it should meet the relevant Australian safety standard. It’s also a good idea to have padding that is different in colour to the net so as to provide a reference point and keep children bouncing in the middle area.
Always check that bolts and screws are tight, legs are stable, and nets are intact before allowing anyone to use a trampoline. As they are kept outdoors, rust can cause parts to corrode and compromise structural rigidity. Furthermore, the constant forces exerted on a trampoline can loosen bolts and cause nets to lose elasticity or tear over time.
The area around a trampoline is just as important as the trampoline itself. Ensure that there are no walls, fences or hazardous objects around the trampoline in case of a misdirected bounce. Also ensure that there is nothing overhead that could cause collision or injury.
There are safety nets available to seal off the perimeter of the trampoline, preventing children from falling out of bounds in the event of a misdirected bounce.
Another important factor to consider is the ground on which you place your trampoline. It’s a good idea to locate a trampoline on a soft surface, and have at least 2m of soft surface surrounding it.
Due to the prevalence of trampoline related injuries, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has teamed up with Kidsafe and Olympic trampolinist Blake Gaudry to raise awareness of trampoline safety at a national level.
By following the recommended safety tips and always being alert when your children are on trampolines, you can significantly reduce the risk of injury.
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