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Trampoline reviews

Do nets and padding make modern trampolines any safer than the models of the past?
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01.Introduction

trampoline-lead

We review 12 trampolines, priced from $179 to $985.

We've tested each model for:

  • safety
  • impact testing
  • potential strangulation and/or limb entrapment
  • ease of use, and
  • jumping performance.

Read more about How we test, and the Brands and models tested.

Trampolines are a fun way to exercise and help to develop co-ordination, balance and motor skills. However, they need to be used appropriately as they are also the cause of many injuries to children. Injuries can occur when children fall off or hit the side of the trampoline, impact one another or sustain injuries from double bounce. 

Younger children are at risk as they can wander underneath and get hit when someone bounces above them. Injuries can include cuts, bruises, sprains and fractures and the most severe risks include injuries to the child’s brain and spine. Trampolines require regular inspection and maintenance and children should always be supervised when using one. For more information, see our tips for using a trampoline.

In this test, 12 trampolines were tested to the Australian Standard 4989:2006 which focuses on requirements for the safety padding and suspension of trampolines as well as information about product marking and detailed instruction material. This test was conducted by an external laboratory who we consider to be the best equipped and most expert lab in this field in Australia.

What are the stats?

Product Safety Australia says hundreds of children are taken to hospital in Australia every year for trampoline-related injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises to more serious sprains and fractures.

  • In a 2007 baseline study of consumer product-related injuries conducted by ACCESS Economics it was estimated that there were 9006 accidents involving trampolines, 11% of which required hospitalisation.
  • In NSW, Westmead Children’s Hospital reported 86 trampoline-related injuries in 2005 which almost doubled to 153 injuries in 2008.
  • In Victoria, the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) reported 7813 hospital-treated trampoline injuries between mid-2002 and mid-2007, with 79% of these caused by falls. Other causes were collisions with people or objects and cuts and wounds. 
  • Trampolines rank as the second biggest cause of hospital-treated injuries on play equipment, just behind monkey bars.

In 2010 the NSW Government called for a review of the existing voluntary Australian Standard AS 4989:2006 and the development of further requirements that take into consideration safety net enclosures and the integrity of trampoline frames. This review is now currently underway.

The Australian Standard

The Australian Standard 4989:2006 is only voluntary. So while we expect manufacturers to strive to meet this standard they are not required by law to do so. The main performance test conducted is a shock test which involves dropping a 4.6 kg hemispherical headform from 1.5 metres and measuring the severity of the shock as it strikes the padding system or soft-edge system.

This is an assessment of the padding system of the trampoline and so is conducted without the safety net assembled. In the Australian Standard this test measures injury potential to the child’s brain (it doesn’t indicate injury potential to other parts of the child’s body). Failure means that in the case of a fall there’s an unacceptable risk for potential injury to the child’s brain, so we consider this to be a major safety concern. 

This test is based on a worst-case scenario – that the trampoline will be used without the safety enclosure. We believe that if a product can be assembled wrongly or incompletely, then chances are that a consumer will do it no matter what the instructions say. If this wrong assembly leads to a less safe product, manufacturers should design the product in a way that rules out wrong assembly. We take this worst-case scenario approach with other safety testing (like cots for example).

Most trampolines now come with a safety net or enclosure and we strongly recommend you only use a trampoline with a net or enclosure installed. This is a safety precaution and aims to prevent children falling off the trampoline and also to absorb the impact of any potential falls before the child reaches the padding. 

Some safety enclosures are fitted on the inside of the padding system. This configuration is more desirable as it reduces the likelihood of hitting the trampoline edges in the case of a fall. So if a trampoline is used with a correctly installed safety net that’s in good condition and on the inside of the frame/padding this would reduce the risk of injury as per our test.

The current Australian Standard doesn’t take the safety net into consideration. Standards Australia is currently working on an update to the standard. This is currently in draft form but will likely continue to include a shock test without the safety net enclosure assembled (as in our test) while also taking into consideration the effectiveness of the safety net.

The shock test isn’t possible with the safety net in place as the net obstructs the fall onto the padding system. This test is also important as it’s reasonable to assume that some consumers won’t install the net, or will install it incorrectly. It’s also possible that the net could perish or break long before the trampoline does and not be replaced.

While an update to the standard is currently underway we urge the ACCC to consider a mandatory standard for trampolines. There are many potential injuries and hazards associated with trampolines so a mandatory standard would be appropriate for this consumer product which is after all essentially a children’s activity toy.

We also assessed each trampoline for compliance with the standard’s information and marking requirements as well as ease of assembly and potential entrapment hazards.

Models tested

  • Action sports trampoline Platinum AP-270 9ft
  • Big Air Universal Trampoline 10ft (A)
  • Bounce Pro Trampoline TR10-combo-L 
  • Lifespan Fitness Trampoline 10ft (B)
  • Oz Trampolines 10’ 
  • Plum Products 30145 
  • Premier Trampolines round 
  • Pro-line trampoline 10ft 
  • Springfree Trampoline R54 
  • Standard trampoline Playworld 
  • Trampoline web and warehouse.com TP 8’ (B)
  • Vuly Trampoline 8ft

(A) This model no longer appears on the website for purchasing so we assume it has been discontinued.
(B) Since testing these models have been discontinued.

Following testing, the manufacturer of the Big Air Universal Trampoline 10ft disputed our findings, in particular in regards to issues surrounding the delivery condition of the trampoline and the assembly of the trampoline. While CHOICE is confident with the initial test results we attempted to purchase a second sample to re-test the trampoline which, according to the distributor, was lost in transit. When we attempted to purchase a third sample the model had been taken off the website, so a re-test of this model wasn’t possible.

The Lifespan Fitness Trampoline 10ft and Trampoline Web and Warehouse.com TP 8’ have been discontinued since testing.

How we test

Safety Each trampoline was tested to the voluntary Australian Standard AS 4989:2006.

Impact testing Part of the voluntary standard looks at specific requirements for areas where impact energy attenuation is necessary. The test involved dropping a 4.6 kg hemispherical headform from a height of 1.5 m and measuring the severity of the shock as it strikes the padding system or soft-edge system of each trampoline in three different locations. The performance criteria state that the padding system should be capable of limiting the force of the impact to a reasonable threshold force (maximum 200 g) as well as spreading this force over a reasonable time duration (minimum 6milliseconds). This test as set out in the Australian Standard only measures the effect on the brain (it doesn’t indicate injury potential to other parts of the child’s body).

Potential strangulation and/or limb entrapment Currently the Australian Standard doesn’t contain tests for assessing these types of hazards but we believe this is a safety issue that should be taken into consideration. We conducted this test in accordance with the entrapment test requirements contained within the Australian Standard for Playground Equipment, AS 4685:2004.

Ease of use The supplied instructions are assessed as well as the ease of assembly of the trampolines where we look at whether all parts are supplied, do parts fit together easily, can assembly be done by one person, are any parts heavy/awkward to handle, ease of securing the trampoline to the ground if necessary and are there any risks to the person assembling the trampoline.

Jumping performance Each trampoline was used (jumped on) and its bounce characteristic was assessed.

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