Kids love this, but it’s sending them to hospital in their thousands.
Trampolines. There’s no doubt that they’re at the top of a lot of wish lists this Christmas.
And who doesn’t love bouncing on them? They’re irresistible to kids of all ages … as well as slightly tipsy adults (we’ve all been there).
But if you read the accident statistics, you might want to tell your kids that Santa couldn’t fit one down the chimney.
Trampolines are responsible for so many hospital admissions that an official warning has just been issued in the UK. About half of all kids seriously injured at home can be blamed on trampolines. Considering that not everybody has a trampoline, that’s a pretty high figure.
The biggest danger is when there's more than one person on the trampoline. If a small child lands just as an adult is jumping, the impact is the same as if that child had jumped out of a first-floor window.
The warning in the UK comes after years of scary reports in Australia. Last year it was revealed that eight kids are hurt on trampolines in Australia every day, with injuries including fractures, dislocated joints and head wounds.
In 2009, a five-year-old Australian boy died when he got tangled in a clothesline hanging above the trampoline.
Even though trampolines are becoming safer, the number of injuries is not falling. Researchers think safety netting could be giving parents a false sense of security.
I have to admit, I shudder whenever my kids go to their friends' houses and make a beeline for the trampoline. All the kids want to jump on it together, and I become Nagging Mum, yelling out, "One at a time!", trying to zip up the netting and pulling out all the toys they've taken in with them.
I've got plenty of friends whose kids have broken arms or legs on trampolines, even when they weren't doing anything stupid. I don't want my children to spend the school holidays in a plaster cast. But it's so hard to get them to play responsibly on something as exciting as a trampoline.
If you are buying your kids a trampoline this Christmas, here are some safety tips:
- Supervise kids at all times
- Be extra careful with children under six - some experts say they shouldn't be allowed on trampolines at all
- Don't let more than one person on the trampoline at any one time, and be particularly wary of letting a small child on with a bigger one
- Children should be taught to jump in the middle of the trampoline and to never go underneath it when someone else is on it
- Make sure the trampoline is well away from walls, fences and backyard furniture, and don't ever put a trampoline under a clothesline or tree
- Use safety netting and padding, and check regularly to make sure it's all in good condition
Has your child been injured on a trampoline?
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