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Think before they bounce!

Think before they bounce - considering the use of trampolines in a childcare setting

The use of trampolines is popular with children of varying ages, it can support their physical development, strengthens coordination, and encourages children to play outside. No wonder sales of garden trampolines have increased so much since 2005. Injuries have also increased though, with over 13,000 children visiting A&E departments in England each year. 

There are many points to consider if you choose to use a trampoline in your childcare setting, especially to reduce the risk of accidents and injury. For example RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) does not recommend the use of trampolines for children under the age of 6 and advises against their use at all for very young children as they’re not sufficiently physically developed to control their bouncing.

If you do decide to use a trampoline then parents will need to be aware and provide signed permission. You will need to consider how this is included in the information you share with parents, ensuring they understand how you will manage the risks. This is needed to comply with Ofsted and CIW requirements. PACEY Cymru have produced a more detailed factsheet for members in Wales on the use of trampolines that looks at some relevant points.

RoSPA has published some garden trampoline safety advice that can help you consider managing the risks and good practice ideas. Some suggestions from their garden trampolining briefing paper include:

  • Trampolines should meet BS and EN safety standards
  • Safety pads should cover springs, hooks and the frame
  • A safety net should prevent the chance of falling off and prevent contact with the trampoline frame
  • Follow all safety instructions for your trampoline (see label)
  • In addition to following the age recommendations for your trampoline, you should consider the individual child and their stage of development including any additional needs
  • Consider the position of your trampoline and the surface beneath

Involving children in setting safety rules will help support their wellbeing and make them feel included. It is important to have a balance between ‘risk benefit’ and ‘risk assessment’. We've recently focused on good practice linked to Risk Benefit. Giving children the chance to encounter some hazards and take an acceptable level of risks also provides the chance for them to learn how to assess and manage these and similar risks for themselves.

 Good practice rules for the use of trampolines include:

  • Take turns, only one child at a time
  • Keep to the centre
  • Supervision at all times, consider removing the ladder when not in use
  • No somersaults or complex manoeuvres
  • Never bounce to leave the trampoline

Did you know that 60% of injuries occur when more than one person is on the trampoline? The person weighing less is five times more likely to be injured.

Remember, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your insurance provides adequate cover for the activities you offer in your setting. Check with your Public Liability Insurance provider whether you are covered for the use of trampolines and if there are any conditions that you should follow related to this. If you have Public Liability Insurance as part of your PACEY membership, there is specific guidance that you will need to be aware of regarding your Insurance on the use of trampolines. There is further information in Insurance FAQs.

Other considerations on trampoline safety and risk assessment include keeping your paediatric first aid training up to date, and having access to a first aid kit. 

And to finish think about when you are away from your setting too. Additional considerations may also be necessary if the children will have access to trampolines at places that you visit and this should be reflected within relevant documents such as parental permissions, risk assessments and policies and procedures. RoSPA provides guidance for commercial trampoline parks  on their website that may be of interest when considering this.

Further resources

PACEY Use of trampolines factsheet (Wales)

PACEY Focus on good practice – Risk Benefits

Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2014 (England)

National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare (Wales) 2016

PACEY Practitioner Policy is arranged and administered by Morton Michel Limited and underwritten by Covea Insurance plc.

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