Why Your New Trampoline Is Unsafe

Why Your New Trampoline Is Unsafe

Trampolines are a popular Christmas gift for families, but they’re also a very risky choice. Testing of 12 popular current models by CHOICE found that 11 failed basic safety tests.

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CHOICE’s tests cover “potential strangulation and limb entrapment”, including measuring the impact on a model head dropped from 1.5 metres onto the edge of the trampoline. 11 of the 12 tested models failed this test, with the sole exception being the Springfree Trampoline R54. That model is priced at $985, which in itself would discourage many parents. There is an Australian standard for trampoline design, but it’s currently voluntary, not mandatory.

The key lesson isn’t necessarily to not buy a trampoline, but to exercise sensible precautions. These should include:

  • Supervising children, especially those under school age, when using the trampoline.
  • Setting clear safety rules (including number of people at one time, not using in the rain, not using while wearing shoes).
  • Ensuring there’s adequate space around the trampoline (two metres around all sides and five metres overhead).
  • Using the trampoline on even ground and securing if possible.
  • Use the safety netting (our pictured trampolinist is definitely breaking the rules).
  • Keeping the trampoline well-maintained and replacing rusted springs or damaged padding.

Our final trampoline hint? Save buying them until your kids stop believing in Santa. I still remember helping a friend assemble a trampoline at midnight on Christmas Eve so we could claim it had been delivered overnight; exhausting work!



    • We broke all of those rules when we were kids, and we had way more fun. You can’t double-bounce each other if there’s only one person allowed on at a time, and bouncing in the rain was one of the most fun things to do on a trampoline. We also didn’t ensure there was adequate space around and above the trampoline — in fact, we often put it right next to the tree so we could jump out of it and land on the trampoline.

      • That’s true, but I remember my cousin also fracturing his skull falling off the trampoline.

        Most of the time you’re fine, but it’s the .01% that’s really really bad.

        I know for my kids I’ll probably shell out for the springless. In the long run, I’d rather spend more money than go through the anguish of knowing I could’ve done more after an accident.

      • My brother lost a testicle after trying to do a backflip and getting it caught between the springs.
        It was simultaneously horrific and awesome and gave us one of the best childhood stories ever.
        And it would never have happened without our trampoline.
        FYI, he set in on fire 3 days later as revenge and burned down the garage in the process.
        Childhood rocked:D

        • the story about losing a testicle and setting fire to a trampoline is only ‘one of the best’ stories from your childhood?

          Sir, you have my vote as the next lifehacker guest author. Please tell us more.

    • Everyone knew a kid or two who broke an arm or a leg, but we had a lot of fun and learnt to be safer around those dangers than just having the dangers taken away would of ever acheived.

  • We used to stand ours on its end and then run at it, jump into the middle of the mat and scramble up to the top to tip it back down on its feet. Fun times.

  • The best part about a trampoline is imminent danger. How are kids going to get casts if we make everything safe.

    We used to have an old olympic trampoline at a friends house, no padding and 3m in the air as standard, flipping onto the grass.

    I want a backyard so I can buy another one of those.. so much fun.

  • I bought one a little while ago and looked for trampolines with:
    * Heavy duty UV rated pads so they don’t crack and fall apart in the Aussie sun
    * Good quality mat so it doesn’t fall apart
    * Good warranty (I got 5yrs on the frame)
    * Strong (thick) galvanised steel frame
    * AS/NZ 4989 Certification
    * Ground anchor to keep the trampoline from bouncing around

    • Have you used it yet or are you too scared to take it outside?
      The checklist for my mum and dad were
      * Frame
      * Springs
      * Mat
      If it ticked those it was a trampoline. So many good memories of my brother and I chucking all our He Man action figures on our trampoline and seeing who could bounce them into each other causing the most damage. Mind you I humbly bow down to the guy with the lost testicle and burned down garage story.

  • I have fond memories of jumping onto the trampoline from our roof, and seeing how many of us it would take to make the mat hit the ground. The chance of broken limbs only made it more fun!

  • Ahh the trambopaline (simpsons reference)…

    Used as a means to get to and from our neighbours yard, they had one setup on next to the fence, as did we meaning we could easily jump from one yard to the other.

    I’m sure we have all seen injuries but we all have stories to tell, something the current generation will be lacking, It’ll be about Kill to death ratios on CoD as opposed to explaining how you got the scar on your arm or dislocated your shoulder.

    Let them enjoy the trampoline, with or without the nets and safety gear.

  • I can tell I’m going to be the odd one out here, but gotta say it…

    I used to be a (high) diver. During the winter we’d do trampolining, as the skills were related. Forget “supervision” – which in any reasonable interpretation would mean having one responsible, adult-sized person hanging out near by.

    We *never* went on the trampoline without four spotters. Yup. One person standing in the middle of each side.

    And I don’t buy the argument that trampolinists in training attempt more ambitious moves and therefore need the spotters, but children don’t. I would argue that children attempt more foolhardy moves (a view borne out by some of the comments above) and so are even more in need of spotters.

    Personally, I would never buy a home trampoline. If I had kids who wanted to get into that kind of thing, there are gyms where you can go learn to do it properly on big, serious trampolines (and believe me, it’s way more fun pulling stunts on a competition model!).

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