Rebecca 'Bec' Bacusmo
Are Trampolines Safe?
Trampolines can be a great form of exercise for children and young people to enjoy and are a popular form of play equipment in many Australian households, but also carry severe safety risks.
Image description: Trampoline set up on grass in a backyard surrounded by trees and bushes. A fence and a window/side of a house can be seen in the rear ground. The trampoline is red and blue in colour, the frame is made of metal and has is fitted with a safety net that surrounds the trampoline.
What is a trampoline?
A trampoline is a device used for recreational and fitness purposes that is made with a fabric mesh within a circular or rectangular frame commonly attached by springs creating a bouncing surface. There are several different types, sizes and designs available to purchase with indoor and outdoor options readily available.
How are trampolines used?
Trampolines are used for both fun and exercise and are a popular form of play equipment in households and play centres. The benefits that trampoline use include:
Increasing overall fitness
Increasing muscle strength
Aiding in sensory and motor development
Providing proprioceptive and vestibular feedback
For self regulation
Are there any safety risks?
Despite the benefits and wide use, trampolines are contentious within the healthcare field due to the safety risks they pose.( See: Journal of Paediatrics 2012, Kidspot)
The Royal Children Hospital do not recommend trampolines for children under six years of age as they are more prone to serious injury with softer bones and slower protective reactions.
Risk of accidental injury from a trampoline use include:
Friction burns from fabric mesh
Injury to others (multiple children on trampoline)
Back, neck and head injuries from falls or incorrect landings
Risk of Mini Trampoline:
Kid Safe NSW, reports that while a toddler trampoline handlebar offers support for smaller children, it does also add an additional risk of serious injury if a fall onto the handlebar was to occur.
Trampolines can also flip and be used in unexpected ways by children who are unsupervised.
Image description: Girl facing away from camera, jumping on circular trampoline. Trampoline set up on grass with a view of trees, house, sky and play equipment in the rear ground.
What do we recommend at Splash Physiotherapy?
We do not encourage Splash families to purchase trampolines. There are significant safety risks in their assembly, maintenance, supervised and unsupervised use.
The goals of using a trampoline can be achieved in many different ways. And unless you are specifically wanting to develop skills on a trampoline, we can support you in discovering alternatives.
Having said that, we do sometimes meet families who already have trampolines in their backyards and enjoy using them. If you do decide to use a trampoline at home:
1. Follow specific safety guidelines (Royal Children Hospital: Fact Sheet- Backyards and Playgrounds)
2. Seek advice from your physiotherapist or paediatrician
3. Complete a safety check regularly and replace any damages fixtures, holes or padding
Image description: girl with pigtails jumps high on a trampoline at an indoor centre
What about trampoline centres?
You do sign waivers at trampoline centres, and we have seen injuries from their use. However a benefit is that the centre is responsible for the maintenance of the trampolines.
They often use safer equipment, for example with fewer gaps or risk of injury from springs.
However due to the size, excitement, and power of the trampolines injuries remain possible and parental discretion is important. Also remember to look after yourself! Parent injuries at trampoline parks are also reported!
This advice is general in nature. Please consider if it is right for you, and speak to your physiotherapist or paediatrician if you have any concerns.
Rebecca Bacusmo is a Splash physiotherapist working with children and young adults in aquatic, land and Telehealth physiotherapy. She is passionate about helping children learn and develop functional skills to assist them in participating in meaningful activities in everyday daily life at home, school and their communities. Rebecca has daily aquatic sessions available at two private swimming schools in Moonee Ponds and Greensborough, Melbourne combined with daily home, school and Telehealth sessions and sports and recreation intensives over the school holidays.