The interest in gymnastics and trampolining has never been stronger and many families now have trampolines in their back gardens for recreational use. Trampolines are fantastic for children to play on and to improve cardiovascular fitness, it can help to increase strength, power and flexibility as well as develop confidence and enthusiasm to be active.
The safety and wellbeing of the person on the trampoline is paramount and there are ten simple safety guidelines to remember.
1. Situating the trampoline
If the trampoline is outdoors, ensure that it is on flat and level ground. It should be placed away from overhanging trees and at least two metres from fences and walls.
Indoor trampolines should be positioned at least two metres from walls and in a room which has sufficient height (at least five metres for beginners).
2. Check the trampoline
Before using a trampoline, always examine it for defects or damage.
Check the trampoline bed for tears, areas that are wearing thin, loose stitching and uneven tension/stretching.
Springs should all be in place with the hooks facing downwards, over-stretched springs should be replaced.
Frame pads should be checked to ensure that they are secure and not damaged.
Frame joints should be checked for damage and should not be bowed.
Check chains for security and even adjustment.
Allen screws should be tight and rivets secure. Hinge pins and T-joints should be fully in place.
Clothing should not impede your freedom of movement on the trampoline. Sportswear is ideal as well as leggings.
For safety whilst using a trampoline, long hair should be tied back to avoid becoming tangled in the trampoline springs.
5. Jewellery and body adornments
Do not wear any jewellery or body adornments whilst trampolining. These items risk being caught on the trampoline bed and whilst you carry on bouncing, these will stay where they are. Many painful injuries have been caused by body piercings, earrings, rings and necklaces becoming trapped in the trampoline.
Clothing that has toggles or buttons can also become stuck in the trampoline and should be avoided when trampolining.
Socks or trampoline shoes should be worn to prevent toes getting stuck in the trampoline bed.
7. Number people
Only one person should use a trampoline at one time. If more than one person is bouncing at the same time it could cause 'kipping' which could magnify a person's bounce, sending them out of control and falling off the trampoline.
Collisions on the trampoline are also likely to occur.
Children should always be supervised when using a trampoline.
If the trampoline does not have a mesh enclosure, additional people should be positioned standing around the trampoline to act as 'spotters'. Spotters should be attentive at all times and be ready to prevent a person falling off the trampoline.
Start with a gentle warm-up to gradually raise your heart rate. This will prepare your body for the demands of trampolining.
Begin with gentle jogging before you get on to the trampoline.
Continue the warm-up on the trampoline with vertical jumps using your arms in large circular movements.
10. Know your ability
Never try anything new or risky that you have not done before. Know your ability and know your limits.
Enrol in a trampoline class at your local leisure centre or gymnastics club with a qualified trampoline coach who will be able to teach you trampoline skills in a safe environment.