Trampoline safety measures no substitute for parents' eyes

  • Breaking
  • 29/06/2015

Measures taken to improve safety on backyard trampolines could be backfiring, as research shows injury rates across the ditch are bouncing up, not down.

Voluntary guidelines have been in place in Australia since 2003, but there are now fears the illusion of safety has replaced proper parental supervision.

A new study published today in Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health says between 2002 and 2011, there were an average of 1737 trampoline injuries a year – increasing in both frequency and rate over the decade.

Overall injury rates have dipped slightly after peaking in 2008/9, but are still well above what they were in 2002.

Unsurprisingly, children aged between five and nine have by far the highest rate of hospitalisation.

"History provides no evidence of an observable effect of voluntary Australian Standards for trampoline safety on population rates for trampoline injury," the researchers conclude.

"The major design modification – netted enclosures – could contribute to the risk of injury by leading parents to falsely believe that a netted enclosure eradicates the risk of injury."

Despite nets, the biggest cause of trampoline injuries remains falling – 81 percent of Australians who ended up in hospital after falling off a trampoline had fractures, usually to their upper limbs.

Non-fall injuries only made up 2.4 percent of all hospitalisations, usually the result of colliding with another jumper or "overexertion".

A previous study noted by the authors found only 27 percent of injuries to children occurred under parental supervision, and 75 percent of accidents happened when more than one was on the trampoline.

"Similarly, there may be an increased likelihood that older children and teenagers attempt risky manoeuvres if the fear of a fall from the trampoline is ameliorated."

The authors recommend more public awareness and education around the dangers of trampolines, and that manufacturers implement a buy-back scheme to get the most dangerous tramps out of people's backyards.

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