Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Call for NZ standard after popular tramps fail safety test

The price of some trampolines is out of reach for many families. Photo / Getty Images
The price of some trampolines is out of reach for many families. Photo / Getty Images

Four out of five trampolines failed the majority of safety tests run by Consumer NZ - but the Government warns that tighter standards may not make any difference as misuse causes as many injuries as poor equipment.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin is calling for the standard for trampolines to be mandatory after it found four of the five most popular trampoline brands failed did not meet the Australian safety standards.

The Australian standards, unlike New Zealand's "outdated" ones, included safety nets or soft-edge trampolines.

Ms Chetwin said unsafe trampolines were a serious issue and having tougher standards could help lower the high number of trampoline-related injuries.

"If they are already unsafe it doesn't matter if you use them or mis-use them, they are dangerous."

According to ACC, 7600 people annually injure themselves on or around a trampoline, which is slightly higher than skateboard-related injuries.

Of the trampolines tested, the most expensive trampoline, the Springfree R54 costing $1299, was the only one to pass most of the tests. It was also the only tramp to have the jumping mat covering frames and springs.

The other trampolines - the Gametime TR-10 Combo-L, Parklands TC-1004S, Playworld 10 Foot Trampoline and Pro-Line TEPL10 - had insufficient padding to prevent the impact of brain injury when a child's head crashed into the frame.

The two cheapest models were also found to be lacking bounce.

Ms Chetwin said the tests also showed that even with safety nets tramps were still not that safe, especially when the net was on the outside of the frame.

But Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment principal adviser Martin Rushton said that trampolines being used incorrectly and without supervision was as big an issue as poorly made and designed equipment.

He said the ministry was keeping a close eye on the outcome of the current review of Australian standards and would use these to consider whether a mandatory standard was necessary.

New Zealand Standards said it was also likely to update the 1997 voluntary standards following the report.

Professor David Eager, of Sydney's University of Technology, said his own research on play equipment had found soft-edge trampolines lowered injury by 30 to 80 per cent and reduced two of the main causes of trampoline injuries, which were falling off and hitting the frame, springs or equipment.

The other three were caused by improper use.

Although he found Springfree was the safest trampoline, he was also aware of other more traditional tramps which passed the minimum safety standard but were not on the market.

"The problem is that these manufacturers dare not until the standard is mandated.

"Why would a consumer purchase a trampoline that costs more, when on the surface it looks the same as safer but more expensive products?" he said.

Safekids director Ann Weaver said parents should do their homework when looking at cheaper options and make sure second-hand tramps had no rips or tears, had a good product rating and were well maintained.


Trampoline injuries

Five main causes of trampoline injuries:

1. Falling off
2. Impact with the frame, springs or equipment
3. Multiple jumpers
4. Hurting one's self
5. Getting on or off

- NZ Herald

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