If we look across Australian homes at their play equipment, we can see the large number of trampolines set up in backyards. Bouncing can be heaps of fun for kids but can also present it’s fair share of hazards: That’s why it is so important to keep risks to a minimum and allow kids to play safely on trampolines. Trampoline related injuries account for over 2000 emergency presentations each year and can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious injuries like fractures. To help reduce the risk of injuries and ensure best practice use, any trampoline should be installed, used and maintained to Australian Standard 4989:2015 Trampolines for Domestic Use- Safety Aspects. By following manufacturer’s directions and ensuring compliance to the standard, you can reduce the risk of injury and teach kids to play safely on trampolines.
Before anyone can play, you need to set up the trampoline:
- Always read the safety, installation and maintenance information supplied with your trampoline
- Place your trampoline on a flat surface
- Provide a clear area around and underneath the trampoline to prevent injury. The area should be clear of obstacles such as: concrete, rocks, building structures, fences, moveable equipment, toys and bikes.
- Make sure there is a minimum overhead clearance of eight metres from the ground level (for example no overhead objects such as clothes lines, trees and wires)
- Surround the trampoline with impact absorbing material such as bark or mulch that has been tested to AS 4422: 2016. The undersurfacing material should extend 2.5m beyond the trampoline frame.
- Frame padding should be wide enough to completely cover the entire top surface of the suspension system. The frame colour should also contrast with the colour of the trampoline bed.
- Install any netting or side protection according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Securely fastening entry points while in use will reduce the risk of falls.
- Check the netting regularly for damage, wear or anything that may affect user safety.
- The height of the trampoline bed should be sufficient to prevent the bed from contacting the floor while the user is bouncing (to a maximum of 1160mm)
- Do not place ladders next to trampolines as they can allow unsupervised access by smaller children
- Where possible, decrease the fall height by sinking the trampoline into the ground. Refer to the manufacturer’s guide on how this can be done safely.
- Paint any part of the frame that is underground or in contact with the ground with a rust proofing treatment
- Securely fix the trampoline legs to the ground. This will increase stability and reduce the potential of unsafe relocation. This is especially important for trampolines with side nets; if users lean or otherwise push against the sides, tipping can occur if the trampoline is not secured down.
Handy rules to help kids to play safely on trampolines:
- One person at a time
- Always jump in the centre of the mat
- For rectangular trampolines, face the end of the frame
- No somersaults
- Do not jump off. Stop bouncing and climb down to get off the trampoline
- Keep away from the trampoline when someone else is using it
- Never sit on the padding
- Never go underneath the trampoline when someone else is using it
- Do not wear shoes, jewellery or buckles on the trampoline
Strategies for supervising trampoline play:
- Always actively supervise children on the trampoline
- Keep toddlers away when in use to prevent them from going underneath the trampoline
- Trampolines over 0.5m in height are not recommended for children under 6 years of age, therefore, children under this age must be closely supervised at all times when around or using the trampoline.
- Teach children how to use the trampoline correctly and set out strict guidelines for use.
- Display clear safety signs such as ‘one at a time’, ‘no shoes’ or ‘do not jump off of the trampoline’
- Before usage, always check to ensure that the area under the trampoline is free of obstacles such as bikes and other moveable play equipment
- Ensure the use of a spotter to warn the trampoline user if they are moving off centre of the mat.
- Keep trampolines clear of ladders or planks that could be used as ramps.
Finally, it is important to properly store and regularly inspect your trampoline to identify and fix any problems before they can result in an injury:
- Regularly check the trampoline bed, netting, and frame padding system for tears and holes, rust or detachments and weakening related to sun/water exposure, etc.
- Make sure the springs are securely attached, the frame padding is correctly and securely positioned, the leg braces are securely locked and the frame is not bent
- Replace any worn, defective or missing parts
- When the trampoline is not in use, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure it is stored safely.
Need some advice about your playground?
Kidsafe Qld are specialists in injury prevention. Our mission is to keep kids out of hospital and prevent injuries at home, on the road and at play. We offer comprehensive playground inspection and consultation services and run regular playground visual inspection training courses. Call Kidsafe Qld 07 3854 1829