Bouncing into A&E - safety campaigners issue warning about trampolines

It's fun and great exercise, but researchers warn parents need to do more to keep children safe on trampolines Credit: ITV News

We are several weeks into the school summer holidays. If you are running out of ideas to keep the children amused, and more importantly to burn off all that energy, you are probably not alone.

One activity that is arguably more popular than ever is trampolining, whether it is in the back garden or at a dedicated trampoline park. Either way, it is not without risk with concerns over how often accidents lead to hospital visits.

Previous research has shown that they are the leading cause of accidents at home, followed by swings and slides.

Researchers from the University of Sydney have analysed data from almost 1.5 million accidents worldwide. They have concluded that trampolining is "fun but potentially dangerous" with injuries including bruises, sprains and strains, fractures, cuts and dislocations.

Dr Guy Eslick, who conducted the study, hopes the study will lead to more safety rules becoming mandatory.

He said: "By doing this research it's to offer options for trampoline centres and parks to look at what we've found in terms of the types of injuries and identify ways in which they can reduce the risk for their consumers. I think that's really important. No one likes to see kids get hurt and these are all preventable injuries."

Watch more from Dr Guy Eslick explaining the findings of his research:

In the UK there has been a significant increase in the number of trampolining centres. There were just three in 2014. Now there are around 200.

One of the larger chains of trampoline parks is Gravity, co-founded by Michael Harrison who says making the industry safer was one of the reasons he started the business.

He said: "When you come to a facility which is maintained daily, supervised with no platforms that you can fall off, changes the game massively. Garden trampolines are something I wouldn't let my children do."

Anyone arriving at one of his facilities needs to sign a safety waiver, then watch a demonstration video and ensure they have warmed up. Marshals are then watching each piece of apparatus to ensure they are being used safely.

One of them, Lauren Allen, explained what advice she offers to those using the centre: "We always say to them, if you jump in the middle of a trampoline, that's like the safest place and keep it one person per trampoline."

Their safety concerns are shared by the charity RoSPA which works to prevent accidents and has put together a list of six tips to stay safe:

  • Choose a safe trampoline - including padding and a safety net, and follow product instructions before use.

  • Take turns - just one person on a trampoline at the same time. If two people are allowed they should be a similar size with adults never bouncing with children.

  • Avoid stunts - awkward landings after somersaults can cause serious injuries. If you want to learn how to perform such tricks, visit a trampolining club with expert tuition.

  • Keep it simple - don't have anything else on the trampoline like sticks, bikes, scooters, plastic swords or skateboards. Also avoid ties or scarves which can get caught.

  • Check your age - children under six are too young to trampoline as they have less control over their bodies.

  • Maintain your trampoline - pack it away over winter and check regularly for rips, tears or any worn parts.

RoSPA spokesperson Sheila Kiggins hopes the research inspires parents to look again at the safety of their domestic trampolines: "Just get in the habit of giving the trampoline a once over. Make sure that nothing's damaged, the nets are still there, the pads are all in place and that's part of your garden routine."

Watch more from RoSPA's Sheila Kiggins explaining how to stay safe on a trampoline at home:

If the safety advice is followed campaigners hope it will help reduce the number of children who are taken to hospital because of accidents on trampolines.

Watch James Webster's full report on trampoline safety: