Calls for regulations amid concerns over trampoline park injuries
Thought taking your child to a trampoline park was safer than putting a trampoline in your back garden? It might be time to reconsider, as a new hospital audit shows children are sustaining worse injuries at the parks than when using trampolines at home.
An audit undertaken by Sheffield Children's Hospital reveals that children are sustaining more injuries at public trampoline parks compared to when using trampolines in private gardens.
In 2017 alone, ambulances were called to 1,181 incidents at trampoline parks across England.
Injuries sustained by children at parks were deemed to be more serious, requiring more treatment, than injuries suffered on trampolines at home .
How many children were injured at trampoline parks in 2017?
Over six months, Sheffield Children's Hospital counted 198 patients with trampoline injuries; 130 of these were using private equipment and 68 were using trampolines at indoor parks.
Forty-four percent of those treated at the hospital for injuries sustained at parks had suffered fractures, compared to 36% for trampolines at home.
The most common category for all trampoline injuries was failed landings at 63%.
What are the current safety rules for trampoline parks?
There are currently no safety regulations laid out for trampoline parks, but a voluntary standard was published in 2017.
The voluntary safety standard was designed by the International Association of Trampoline Parks, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and British Gymnastics.
The number of trampoline parks in the UK has grown from three in 2014 to around 200 today. The IATP estimates the number of users in the UK to be 15 million a year. It said the number of injuries sustained was comparatively small.
Michael Harrison, owner of Gravity Trampoline Parks and an IATP member, called for the sector to be governed.
He said: “Some of these parks should not be allowed to operate and my worry is that some of these parks are injuring people through financial and commercial reasons.”
Peter Brown, chairman of the IATP, said of sector regulation: “The only way it would work, would be the government setting legislation. I can't see them doing that but if they did we would not be averse to that happening.”
He added: “Just under half of existing parks were members of the IATP and all members would have to meet its standard by August to gain or renew membership.”
Dr Catherine Rimmer, paediatric emergency medicine consultant at Sheffield Children's Hospital, said: "There are a lot of trampoline parks that seem to be popping up all over the place that are neither regulated nor abide by basic safety precautions. I think the bigger parks are far better, but I know anyone can open a trampoline park in any kind of big open space and they're the ones parents need to be particularly careful of.”