Trampolines have for many years been a fairly common sight in our gardens. The toy has been a popular choice for many children and various models have continued to sell from the 1930s onwards. However, in the last few years we have seen a real boom for trampolines, driven by cheaper production techniques and parents realising that their children need to undertake more exercise. Unfortunately, trampolines to provide the chance of injury if safety precautions are not undertaken and our hospitals deal with many incidents linked to the activity each year.
Finding the right option
The first and most important part of the process should be finding a suitable trampoline. Always look for a model that comes fitted with a protective frame, complete with safety netting. This will prevent users from falling from the trampoline during use. Also be sure that the springs around the edge of the jump mat are adequately covered by spring pads to avoid painful impacts.
Even though your trampoline is fitted with a protective frame and some netting, it is important to position it appropriately. Leave as much space around the trampoline as you can and avoid situating it underneath a tree or any other overhanging structure. Trampolines should never be positioned on hard surfaces such as concrete or even grass, which can become compacted. Instead you should cut a circle into the lawn that is wider than your trampoline and then fill it with bark mulch to provide a soft landing in the event of a fall. Whilst you may be limited as to how far you can overlap the circumference of the trampoline with the protective bark, do aim for at least 1 metre and more if you can. Make sure when you order the bark mulch that it is the right particle size that is intended for play use. The bark should be laid to a depth of 200mm and topped up over time as required.
Many parents fall into the trap of thinking that once the trampoline is safely installed their job is done. However, safety netting can become torn, springs unconcealed and even strained. It is therefore important to check the condition of the trampoline on a regular basis. Ideally you should check it before every usage. It will only take you a few minutes each time and will reduce the chances of an accident. It goes without saying that if you do find any defects, the trampoline should not be used until the problem is fixed.
Whilst it may seem a little over the top to supervise every usage of the trampoline, figures reveal that the vast majority of accidents do occur when children are left alone. This is especially the case if more than one child is present and they end up on the trampoline together. Even when children are supervised, only one of them at a time should be allowed on the trampoline. It is especially dangerous to have a small child on the trampoline at the same time as a much larger one. A good way to stop young children using the trampoline unsupervised is to not install a ladder, so they cannot access the apparatus without your assistance.
John Browbeck recommends Rolawn Direct as a great supplied of bark mulch for UK residents.
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