US health experts are calling for a ban on backyard trampolines because they are too dangerous and cause an excessive number of injuries.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that netting and other safety equipment does not reduce injury.
In 2009 there were almost 98,000 trampoline-related injuries in the US which resulted in 3,100 hospitalisations.
“Paediatricians need to actively discourage recreational trampoline use,” says Dr Michele LaBotz, co-author of an updated policy statement on the use of trampolines in the US.
“Families need to know that many injuries occur on the mat itself, and current data does not appear to demonstrate that netting or padding significantly decrease the risk of injury.”
Kate Fraser from Australia’s Kidsafe playground advisory unit told Woman’s Day that banning trampolines may be taking things a little too far.
“It would be a sad day for Australia if the backyard trampoline was banned, however, we recognise that some injuries do occur,” Kate said.
The US report found that children under the age of five were most at risk of serious hurt, with 48 per cent of injuries in this age group involving fractured or dislocated bones. Other common complaints included sprains, strains and contusions. According to the AAP, these injuries still occurred despite parental supervision.
It was also found that 75 per cent of trampoline injuries occur when more than one person is jumping on the mat at the same time.
“The recommendations from this organisation appear to focus on the risk of injury, rather than the benefits of using a trampoline,” Kate Fraser says.
“Trampolines do come with some risks, and knowledge of these risks requires parents and carers to be mindful of the set-up of the trampoline in their backyard. We all want our kids to grow up to be happy, healthy adults and equipment such as trampolines offers many more benefits than risks of injury.”
These benefits include coordination development, physical fitness, core strength development and body schema awareness.
“Children love to trampoline because it is so much fun – many adults also love to trampoline for the same reasons,” Kate says.
“However, the benefits are not just physical, as children learn to take turns, act as a ‘spotter’ for the ‘jumper’, or play ball games with the ‘jumper’ from ground level.”
Here are Kate’s tips for safe trampoline use:
- Full-sized trampolines are not recommended for children under six, however there are a lot of different sized trampolines on the market that are suitable. It is important to consider the overall size of the mat, the bounce and the height of the trampoline.
- When purchasing a trampoline, ensure that it complies with the Australian Standard. Look for the Standards ticks or product marking that demonstrates this compliance.
- Avoid setting up on hard surfaces and ensure that the trampoline is stable.
- No pets on the trampoline!
- Maintain pads, nets and springs, and follow any specific manufacturer’s instructions.
- Parents should actively supervise kids on the trampoline
- If your child shows a keen interest in trampolining, consider enrolling them in a class. It is a terrific way to develop interests/hobbies and engage in ongoing regular physical activity .
For further information on safe trampoline use visit: www.kidsafe.com.au
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