Experts Call For Regulations After Only One Trampoline Passes Safety Tests With No Failures
Springfree, the New Zealand-based producer of the world’s safest trampoline is calling for the Government to regulate trampoline safety after Consumer New Zealand announced theirs was the only trampoline in New Zealand to pass its safety testing with no major or minor failures.
Consumer NZ has tested trampoline safety three times since 2012 and in each round every other trampoline has failed safety tests. Springfree Trampoline is the only trampoline to continually pass and receive the Consumer New Zealand Recommends tick for the past eight years.
“This is the eighth year running that we’re recommending Springfree. Their commitment to safety is something that is at the core of everything they do, and being Consumer Recommended is an appropriate acknowledgement of this commitment,” says Jon Duffy, Chief Executive of Consumer NZ.
In the last five years 67,304 trampoline accidents requiring medical attention were reported to ACC – with more than 12,000 of those injury claims occurring in 2020 at a cost of just over $10.5 million.
Megan McKenzie, General Manager of Springfree New Zealand, says the Government must bring in a mandatory trampoline safety standard.
“Trampolines of any quality can be sold regardless of how much risk they present to children. Unfortunately there are quite a few hazardous trampolines on the market,” says McKenzie.
The original New Zealand trampoline safety standard was last updated in 1997 and only required a trampoline edge to be padded – which was never enforced.
“The voluntary standard was removed in 2015, since the regulations were ignored and ineffective, with the idea that they would be replaced by the Australian standard – but this never happened,” says McKenzie.
Consumer NZ uses the Australian standard (AS4989) to test New Zealand trampolines.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, closed borders means more Kiwis are spending money at home – including on entertainment purchases like pools, spas and trampolines. Springfree has seen a 30% spike in sales from 2020 compared with the previous year.
“Our concern is that with people buying more items like trampolines, they need to be aware of what they are buying and the serious dangers associated with some of the trampolines on the market,” says McKenzie.
“The consequences for people, especially children, could be even higher if the Government does not implement a mandatory safety standard.”
ACC data shows children and teenagers are more at risk, with the majority of injuries occurring in those aged 14 or below. The type of injuries range from neck, head and limb fractures, lacerations, hematomas, soft tissue injuries, internal organ injuries, dislocations and concussions.
“Beyond children over-extending themselves, there are three main causes of injury on a trampoline: falling-off, impact with the frame or springs, and colliding with other children” says Professor Keith Alexander, inventor of the Springfree trampoline and professor of engineering at Canterbury University.
“Most families will see a trampoline that has padding over the springs, and nets to prevent falling off, and assume that this makes it safe, but in some trampolines these essential safety features are only cosmetic and will quickly deteriorate or fail with use. Trampolines where the company has built to global standards, will clearly state these on their website and packaging.
“One of the main issues for consumers is that many trampolines carry confusing labelling that refers to a universal ‘manufacturing standard’ or say it ‘complies with all standards’. This is misleading and provides people with a false assurance of safety.”
Professor Alexander is a member of the Trampoline Standards Committee in the United States and contributed to the development of the Australian trampoline standard.
He spent 15 years researching and designing the Springfree trampoline, which eliminates around 90% of trampoline-related injuries. It is designed and manufactured to keep its protection systems intact for the life of the trampoline and each model is tested to three million jumps to ensure its quality, durability, and most of all, safety.
“Safety is our top priority and we urge other trampoline manufacturers to follow our example,” says McKenzie.
“We’re already researching the next generation of our trampoline – to ensure we constantly improve the safety of our product for Kiwi families.”