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Safe bouncing for children on trampolines

Guidelines from the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists - 09/02/07

Physiotherapists see trampolines as a way for children to develop balance, co-ordination and muscle strength, and general fitness through a good cardiovascular workout as long as there are clear, sensible rules and adult supervision.

In response to a call for trampolines to be restricted to gyms, Jon Warren, President of the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists stated, "Physiotherapists believe it's really important for children to play outside. Normal active play is needed for children's healthy growth, and to prevent some of the problems emerging from inactivity, such as childhood obesity. Trampolines are a means to encouraging such play. Without knowing it, kids having fun on trampolines are following just the sort of exercise programme a physiotherapist would prescribe. In fact physiotherapists often use trampolines to improve balance, co-ordination and confidence in children with developmental delays."

However Mr Warren agrees that to avoid injuries it is very important for parents to take precautions with trampolines, and recommends the 12 top tips from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in the UK:

  1. If possible set the trampoline in a hole, with the mat at ground level, to reduce the distance the user could fall.
  2. Keep trampoline clear of fences, trees and any other yard or play equipment. Erect netting around the sides of the trampoline to stop users falling off.
  3. Ensure trampoline has a securely fastened frame pad to cover the entire spring system, hooks and frame.
  4. Place cushioning material (such as wood chips, sand or soft lawn) under and around the trampoline.
  5. Check the wear and tear on the trampoline mat and springs before use.
  6. Use the trampoline only when the mat is completely dry.
  7. Children should always be supervised by an adult. It is not advised that children under age six use large trampolines.
  8. Only one person should use the trampoline at a time.
  9. Users should always jump in the middle of the mat .
  10. Never exit the trampoline by bouncing off climb on and off carefully.
  11. Users should remove all jewellery, buckles or anything that might catch and should not wear hard shoes; socks should be non-slip.

Editor's comment
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