Should Your Child be Playing On A Garden Trampoline?

September 27, 2012 Published by

With all the hype about garden trampoline safety, we wanted to raise a couple of important things for parents to consider when assessing whether or not it is safe for children to play on a garden trampoline or even whether to buy one. Oh and thanks to all of you who have contributed to our facebook discussion on this, it’s always really good to hear your opinions.

First of all, child obesity is on the rise and it’s largely due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Obesity-related illnesses are likely to be a much bigger threat to today’s youth than the risk of injury from a trampoline.

Commentators have suggested that the majority of injuries are due to falls on the trampolines, not off them – this is because the majority of trampolines have safety nets on them and this does add real protection from the damage that an additional 3 foot fall would inflict.

Most people accept that when used sensibly (i.e. only one person on at a time, and not trying to perform manoeuvres that they’ve not had training in – especially somersaults) trampolines do not present an unreasonable amount of danger. (The report acknowledges this in a rather backhanded way)

What gets our goat, here at the Good Toy Guide, is the complete disregard that ‘experts’ have for parents’ ability to make informed, responsible judgements about their children. Surely, the American paediatricians behind the report that have caused such a stir could have presented their information more constructively and highlighted the risks of improper use of the trampolines and given advice on accident prevention. Right at the end of the article are some very sensible guidelines,  but we argue that responsible parents know their own children and helping them develop risk assessment skills, individual responsibility and self-regulation is all part of parenting. As each child is different parents are best placed to judge how much supervision, freedom and risk a child can manage at any given time.

And let’s not forget, as sad as it can be sometime, accidents happen, and they can happen anywhere, anytime.  The long-term effects of over-protecting children include mental health issues, and an inability to make their own judgements about safety and risk when they finally do cut the apron strings.  Do you really want your child’s first experience of having to judge risk for him/herself to be when he/she gets behind the wheel of a car?????

 

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This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer

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