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Effectiveness of pads and enclosures as safety interventions on consumer trampolines
  1. Keith Alexander1,
  2. David Eager2,
  3. Carl Scarrott3,
  4. George Sushinsky4
  1. 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
  2. 2Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
  3. 3Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  4. 4Retired from US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Washington, DC, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Keith Alexander, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Canterbury, PB 4800, New Zealand; keith.alexander{at}


Background Trampolines continue to be a major source of childhood injury.

Objective To examine available data on trampoline injuries in order to determine the effectiveness of padding and enclosures.

Design Trampoline injuries from the NEISS database from 2002 to 2007 were reclassified into five cause-categories, to examine evidence for injury trends.

Setting The ASTM trampoline standard recommendations for safety padding were upgraded in 1999 and enclosures were introduced in 1997. This is the first study to examine the impact of these changes.

Patients The sampling frame comprises patients with NEISS product code ‘consumer trampolines’ (1233). A systematic sample of 360 patients each year is taken.

Interventions The prominent interventions recommended by the ASTM are netting enclosures to prevent falling off and safety padding to cover frames and springs.

Main outcome measures Proportion of injuries within each cause-category and trend estimates.

Results There was no evidence for a decline within the injury cause-categories that should be prevented by these interventions from 2002 to 2007.

Conclusions If these interventions were effective the associated injury causes would be in decline. Instead they remain close to half of all trampoline injuries with no significant change over the period of the study. Follow-up studies are proposed to determine the reasons. Given the number of injuries involved it is recommended that steps be taken to ensure these safety interventions or their equivalents are in place, work properly and remain effective for the life of consumer trampolines.

  • Trampoline
  • trampoline safety
  • child
  • product
  • home
  • engineering
  • sports

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  • Competing interests Three of the authors of this paper are closely interconnected with organisations that will be affected by the paper. One reason for the collaboration has been to ensure some balance. Nevertheless potential conflicts of interest are listed in order of importance below. KA is the inventor of the Springfree trampoline and has a minor financial interest in the company now manufacturing it. The Springfree trampoline is arguably better designed to prevent the injuries that the paper highlights, than others on the market. This author could be said to have a vested interest in publishing this paper; KA is also a member, and the minutes secretary of the ASTM subcommittee F08-17, ‘Trampolines and Related Equipment’. This paper has the potential to direct strategy for that committee. DE undertakes testing of trampolines for compliance with the Australian Trampoline standard, AS4989, and is also on the committee responsible for review of that standard. Results from this paper could theoretically contribute to this standard and consequently to DE's testing work; DE is currently undertaking a funded project to investigate the safety record of Springfree trampolines in the Australian market. This could potentially bias his views on this paper. DE, GS and KA are all members of the ASTM subcommittee F08-17, so potentially they could form a group controlling the committee. GS has recently retired from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the US government organisation responsible for the database used in the paper. CS has no competing interests but has become involved as a statistician.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.