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Gym mats under apparatus

(6 Posts)
loopydoo Wed 15-May-13 12:29:37

Ds loves to climb......very high!
He doesn't have a lot of fear and truly believes he is part monkey I think grin.

Yesterday he told me that whilst he was climbing up the high ropes, almost to the ceiling of the hall, there were no mats below. He said the teacher had said it was safer NOT to have them as the children would be more likely to fall if mats were there and there were not thick enough to save you anyway.

I spoke to the teacher this morning who said that's true, although she said she was standing below, just in case (was she was really going to be able to catch him if he fell?).

Does anyone think this lack of mats thing seems unsafe? Surely, thick, pole vaulting PE mats would be way better if a child did fall from the high ropes, compared to falling onto the concrete fall?

I addition, Ds is epileptic so I would have that the school would have realised this......having told me how on the ball they are with epileptic children??

tiggytape Wed 15-May-13 12:49:19

I think it is more the norm now not to use mats. Our P.E department don't use them under large equipment - only for vaulting - because of the false sense of security they provide.

I think the official guidance says something like "School staff/coaches should be wary of placing mats in anticipation that a pupil may fall." i.e. mats should not be placed out because children are asked to do something where a fall is so likely that a soft landing is necessary. Activities should be planned where falls are not at all expected and other safety measures used like coloured tape to indicate how high they are allowed to go.

If you are worried, your LA or school will have risk assessments and guidance on this. It is one of those areas that has been discussed a lot so they should have a written policy somewhere. Saying that though, your DS's medical condition should also form part of any risk assessment. Is your issue that they shouldn't be allowing him to climb beyond a certain height at all?

loopydoo Wed 15-May-13 12:55:36

Hmm, thanks tiggytape. No, i don't think he should be climbing beyond a certain height above a solid concrete floor, age 8. If he suddenly had a seizure, he would lose his grip and fall.

He does love to climb trees but we would only allow this when there is an adult to gauge height etc. and there are branches/mud/grass to break fall.

First aid wise, any fall from a height that is higher than the child, should necessitate a trip to A & E so I was a bit concerned at the rope height he was being allowed to climb.

Wellthen Wed 15-May-13 20:23:02

The mats would do nothing to break his fall so the teacher is absolutely right. State primary schools do not have crash mats and even crash mats (if proffesional bouldering centres are right) will do very little.

I dont think you can say children shouldnt do things because 'they might suddeny have a seizure' as this is always a risk and always dangerous. If a child had a seizure while walking around they may fall and smack their head on the table or sink or they might have one on the toilet and no one would know until many minutes later. The important point here is your child's own specific condition - how is it managed? Is a random seizure likely or does he know when its coming on? Has he ever had one at school? What is his care plan in case of a seizure? It may the case that he specifically would not be able to climb for this reason.

If they fell from most primary school wall bars they may break a bone but I doubt much more than that. Yes that would be very unfortunate but it shouldnt mean we wrap them in cotton wool.

xylem8 Thu 16-May-13 15:56:21

The teacher is right, but if he is epileptic he should not be climbing so high
mats are more to protect joints where impact is inevitable like vaulting.Where children are taking part bare foot on a concrete floor eg for gymnastics they should really do everything on mats

TravelinColour Thu 16-May-13 22:43:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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