During the three years from January 2010 to December 2012, 145 children under 14 were admitted to Starship Children’s Health with trampoline-related injuries. Falls were the leading cause of these serious injuries – accounting for 95% of admissions.
There's a voluntary standard here for trampolines but it hasn't been updated since 1997 and it doesn't cover safety nets or soft-edge trampolines. Across the Tasman, Australia's voluntary standard was revised in 2006 and covers soft-edge and traditional trampolines. But evidence suggests compliance is haphazard.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also cautioned against home trampoline use. The US has a voluntary safety standard for trampolines that sets specifications for padding across the frame and springs. The standard also prohibits the inclusion of ladders, because these allow young kids to climb on to the trampoline unsupervised.
But it appears the standard hasn't worked – about 20 percent of US trampoline injuries are caused when the user bounces on to the springs or frame. This suggests padding hasn't lowered rates of injury.
The story is similar when it comes to netting and perimeter enclosures. Safety nets have been commercially available since 1997 (and a US standard for nets was produced in 2003). But they haven't reduced the proportion of trampoline-related injuries caused by falls – which remains at 27 to 39 percent in the US.
Research into the effectiveness of pads and enclosures has suggested some possible reasons why they fail to reduce injuries in the US:
The safety nets on modern trampolines may give a false sense of security. Ann Weaver of Safekids New Zealand – a child safety service – says that the nets are not designed to be bounced off, but that’s what kids tend to do.
Get problems like these fixed before the trampoline’s next used.
The New Zealand Standard for trampolines NZS 5855:1997 was used as the basis for our advice on setting up, maintaining and using a trampoline.
Report by Luke Harrison and Amanda Lyons.
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