The number of children attending University Hospital Galway’s emergency department due to injuries from using trampolines is on the rise.
John O’Donnell, consultant in emergency medicine at the west’s biggest hospital, says the most common types of injuries from trampoline and bouncy castles are musculoskeletal including neck, wrist, ankle and knee.
The chances of having an accident increase greatly if more than one person uses a trampoline, regardless of size, shape or make, and from trampolines without protective netting. Many accidents occur when children come into contact with others, jump and do flips, somersaults, etc. The HSE West says it is important that people use trampolines safely and offer the following safety guidelines for parents:-
If you are considering buying a trampoline consider the decision carefully as there are many risks involved in trampoline use. Children under six years old are particularly vulnerable to injury.
If you decide to purchase a trampoline ensure that the model comes with a safety net and pad and meets the BS EN 13219 standard.
Choose a clear area to position a trampoline away from walls, trees, fences, steps and equipment. Ideally there should be a safe fall zone completely around it.
Place the trampoline on soft even ground, eg grass. Never place it on a hard surface such as concrete even if you have safety netting and matting.
If possible lower the trampoline bed to ground level.
Avoid using a ladder with the trampoline.
Before using the trampoline
Set rules about using the trampoline and discuss these with your children
Tell them about the risk of not using the trampoline safely
Ensure they remove any jewellery, necklaces, watches or any clothing that may catch in the trampoline
Inspect it to ensure there are no holes, the padding is correctly and securely positioned and there is no damage to springs, and frame
Take off shoes and wear non-slip socks
Tie back long hair
Using the trampoline
An adult should supervise at all times
Don’t allow children under six years to use it
Take turns - only one person on the trampoline at a time at all times
Never try somersaults or flips
Always bounce in the middle of the trampoline
Never jump or run off the trampoline onto the ground. Stop and then climb down
Stand back. Keep back from the trampoline when someone else is jumping
Watch out underneath. Ensure that no one goes under the trampoline when someone else is jumping
Out of order. Ensure that no one uses the trampoline if there is a rip or split in the mat.
People interested in trampolining may like to join a gymnastics or trampoline club. Information on clubs and courses is available from Irish Gymnastics - www.irishgymnastics.ie Further information on safety is available on www.rospa.com and www.safekids.co.uk