11 of 12 trampolines fail major safety tests
CHOICE is warning parents to be extra vigilant when supervising children on trampolines with new testing by the consumer group finding 11 of the 12 popular models on the market unsafe.
The trampolines were tested for safety including potential strangulation and limb entrapment, as well as ease of assembly¹ and jumping performance.
The main safety test is a shock test which involves dropping a 4.6kg head-form from a height of 1.5 metres.² The impact of the head-form as it strikes the padding system or soft-edge system is measured. This tests whether the padding around the trampoline edge will adequately protect a child’s head in a fall.
The Springfree Trampoline R54 (RRP $985) passed all main safety tests. The remaining 11 trampolines failed the shock test with many also displaying potential strangulation or limb entrapment hazards between the trampoline’s enclosure net and bed and/or frame.³
“Trampolines can be lots of fun. However it’s also very easy to get hurt – sprains, bruises and fractures can occur from a fall or from impact with people and objects. Severe brain and spinal injuries can also happen,” says CHOICE spokesperson, Ingrid Just.
While an update to the Australian Standard is currently underway, it is a voluntary standard, and CHOICE is calling on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to make the standard mandatory.
“We expect manufacturers to strive to meet the existing voluntary Australian Standard, however our test results show that this is not necessarily happening,” says Ms Just.
Of the 11 trampolines that failed the CHOICE test, many also showed some degree of permanent damage to the safety padding and vinyl cover after the shock test. For some models there was also damage to the trampoline legs and frame tubing.
“The foam used for padding on many trampolines is similar to packaging foam and does not provide adequate protection for jumps and falls,” says Ms Just.
In 2007 an ACCESS Economics study estimated that there were 9006 accidents involving trampolines, 11% of which required hospitalisation.
Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) found that trampolines rank as the second biggest cause of hospital treated injuries on play equipment, just behind monkey bars.
CHOICE says people who already have a trampoline can take precautions to make it safer:
- Space - a trampoline should have at least two metres on all sides that are clear from hazards and obstacles and have a minimum overhead clearance of five metres.
- Padding - if you have an older trampoline, consider getting padding retro-fitted to the voluntary standard. Contact the store or manufacturer for information.
- Maintenance - check regularly for tears, worn areas and sun exposure. Inspect the frame and springs for rust and deterioration.
- Safety net – most trampolines come with a safety net and we strongly recommend you only use the trampoline with this net installed. Make sure it is not suspended from stiff or rigid poles and look for one that is assembled on the inside of the padding system.
- Secure the trampoline – place it on an even surface and if possible anchor the legs of the trampoline to the ground.
- Set clear safety rules – establish these early. E.g. ‘one person at a time,’ ‘bare feet only’, ‘do not use when wet.’
- Ensure use of trampoline is supervised at all times.
¹ Several manufacturers raised concern that we didn’t assemble the trampolines correctly. Our highly experienced testers followed the instructions provided as a consumer would. If our testers really got it wrong (and we don’t suggest they did) this would highlight serious issues with the instructions that manufacturers should address.
² As per the Australian Standard; AS 4989:2006.
³ To read the full list of the models tested and to access the full report contact Ingrid or Gemma on the number below.
Ingrid Just, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669
Gemma Rasmussen, CHOICE Communications Advisor: 0400 689 690
To read more on CHOICE tests, reviews and campaigns, go to choice.com.au