Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

So, Are Trampolines Safe? A New Report Has Warned That Children's Trampoline Injuries Have Risen Dramatically. So How Safe Are They? A Mother and a Safety Campaigner Argue the Case for and Against

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

So, Are Trampolines Safe? A New Report Has Warned That Children's Trampoline Injuries Have Risen Dramatically. So How Safe Are They? A Mother and a Safety Campaigner Argue the Case for and Against

Article excerpt

FOR

They're safe, says writer and mother-of-two Caroline Phillips OUR children started their bouncing careers on the [pounds sterling]1,500 sprung mattress on our bed, so it seemed obvious for us to buy a proper trampoline instead.

Three years ago, few of us had these 14ft diameter wonders. We became instantly popular as a jump-off point on the school run.

We used to be the only family in our street with a trampoline. Now we could emulate Burt Lancaster in The Swimmer (where he swims the valley) by bouncing from garden to garden.

Most children love trampolining.

As child obesity rises (nearly 10 per cent of those aged under four qualify), something that gets youngsters active because it's fun must be better than watching television whilst scoffing industrial quantities of over-salted crisps and junk food.

Our trampoline is used most dry days. Anya, nine, and and Ella, seven, do triple somersaults and synchronised manoeuvres while I stand there like a Bulgarian Olympian coach. Not really.

Our kids can, er, jump in the air and do the seat drop (where you land on your bottom.) They do it with their friends (no more than three simultaneously: I tried unsuccessfully to enforce safer, singular bouncing) and with the dog. The trampoline is also a very popular picnic spot.

The safety rules are like the Green Cross Code or the rules about not playing with matches. Wear correct clothing (no high-heeled, Barbie shoes).

No showing off. Additionally springs, hooks and frames are covered with safety pads and everything checked regularly.

We considered having a safety-net or sinking the trampoline into the ground but decided that this would encourage the children to take risks. They have a natural sense of self-preservation.

Instead of a soft "fall zone" of several feet surrounding the trampoline, we have a shed into which trapeze artists can crash-land. The fact is that we've never had an accident.

The benefits far outweigh any risks.

"Trampolining improves fitness, agility, increases cardiovascular output, encourages muscle strengthening and helps injury rehabilitation," says Caryl Becker,physiotherapist at the Olympic Medical Institute. "Risks are minimised if you learn properly. Of course you can fall off, but that can happen on a bike."

"It helps with coordination, stability and spatial awareness (brilliant for kids with dyspraxia and ataxia)," adds Jamal Mashlab, sports physiotherapist and former international trampolinist.

"As long as it's supervised, you'll get nothing worse than the occasional sprained ankle. Just think how many knee injuries you end up getting from playing football. …

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