On occasions I have been taken to task by parents who claim that trampolines are dangerous and told “my children will never have one!”. I am always amazed at parents who take this view and my reply is to refer them to RoSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, who say that trampolines are perfectly safe if used according to some simple rules (NB all Atlantic Trampolines are supplied with safety instructions which I advise parents to discuss with their children from the start). RoSPA agree that childhood is about learning to understand risk and that there is risk in all forms of play, be it cycling, football or climbing a tree.
One way to ensure your child doesn’t encounter an accident would be to lock them away, but of course this would lead to other damage, both physical and mental. But many children today are taking so little exercise that they are effectively “locked” away, with little consideration of the consequences to their health. Childhood obesity is a fast growing problem and research has shown that over 27% of children in the UK are now overweight. This is the result of children being far more home bound than in the past leading to them taking less exercise and having a sedentary life style. Obesity at a young age often leads to obesity in adulthood as a pattern of regular exercise (often linked also with good diet) is not established at a young age. This can lead to serious health problems later in life.
Obesity is the condition of being seriously overweight to an extent that affects your health. Obesity is caused by two factors, an unbalanced diet (typically too rich in sugar and fat and not enough fibre and carbonhydrate) and not doing enough exercise to burn off the calories consumed. Occasionally there are also genetic factors leading to obesity. A trampoline can provide a great way for children to burn off calories in a fun environment which they enjoy, and provided they follow some simple rules, this can be a done safely.
The consequential effects of obesity on the body can be numerous. These can include problems with joints and bones, a condition called benign intracranial hypertension that produces headaches and affects vision, hypoventilation (leading to drowsiness during the day, snoring and even heart failure), gall bladder disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, high blood pressure and high levels of blood fats.
The Child Accident Prevention Trust take the view that all play involves some risk, the trick is to manage that risk. “We don’t want to ‘wrap children in cotton wool’. Scrapes and bruises are part of growing up. But we don’t think children should die, or be disabled or disfigured, in accidents that can be prevented.”
Play involves the possible risk of physical injury to a child but the benefits of play are in your child’s development and their overall health. By stopping them engaging in play that might lead to injury you are stopping them learning about what risk is aswell as potentially harming them due to the effects of obesity from inactivity.
There is now an interesting movement to try and encourage more children to play outside called Love Outdoor Play which Atlantic Trampolines support.
Author: Bob Bounce