Brian Holden: Texting and trampolining - a dangerous mix

By Brian Holden

Second only to swimming pools, letting the kids loose on a trampoline is a guaranteed way of keeping them occupied for hours - that is until someone slips and falls and the squeals of joy turn to tears.

For a device that is incredibly great fun, unfortunately they can be hellishly dangerous when a misjudged backward flip goes wrong.

Nationally, trampoline injuries have sprung to a five-year high, with nearly 8400 injury claims going through ACC last year - about 160 a week - costing more than $2 million. Not surprisingly, by far most of the victims were children aged 14 and under.

However, Kiwis in their twilight years also leapt in on the action with 16 injuries being logged for pensioners aged 70 and over.

Broken bones are the most common injury followed by bruising, sprains, cuts, dislocation and teeth being knocked out.

The scenario that puts the willies up me is one's foot going down between the springs that stretch the mat to the outer frame. Even worse is the thought of being catapulted off the thing completely. It happens.

Manufacturers and safety pundits jumped in quickly in an effort to dramatically reduce the horror stories of human projectiles suffering such catastrophes, by fitting spring pads and high nets.

One would think that these safety measures would dramatically reduce these injuries but, in reality, they haven't.

It often comes down to users getting over-excited with the "just one more and a bit higher" mentality and the compulsion to do it in groups of two, threes and even fours creating a recipe for certain disaster - nearly always for the smallest kid.

Trampolines are so much fun and anything to get kids out in the fresh air away from the Xbox has got to be good. But common sense must rule, which was certainly not the case when seeing a teenage girl recently, happily bouncing away while looking down at her phone - texting.

Why is it that people love the challenge of eradicating a wasp nest? On hearing that there is one on the property, the man of the house (dealing with wasp nests is usually a man's thing) will immediately prepare for the task in hand.

Calling in the experts is only considered if the nest is located in a really tricky spot, where Mr Householder is definitely not the man for the job. Week before last our gardener happened to notice a trail of wasps coming and going from an old wooden barrel that has sat by our front door for as long as I can remember. "Get away from the thing," I beckoned to my wife and the gardener who I thought were getting a little too close.

Indeed, the evil little beasts had taken up residence in MY barrel and something had to be done about it. Nightfall could not come quick enough when after the last wasp had returned home, I gingerly stalked up to the hole in the barrel with a plastic puffer bottle of "No Wasps" powder. Within five seconds (I like to be quick), I blasted a good half of the bottle into the entrance, skipped away smartly - as you do - and fermez la porte.

An inspection in the morning revealed no evidence of wasp activity. Mission successfully completed.

Warning to kids - don't try this at home. Always consult dad first. He'll deal with it - he knows best.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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