Jump, swing and play safely
Play equipment means family fun time — it also means parents and caregivers need to know about buying safe products and using them safely.
If you're buying second-hand play equipment
If you're buying second-hand jump, swing and play equipment, or are given a hand-me-down product, check the following before letting children play, jump or swing:
- there are no worn or loose parts — if there are, don't let children use the equipment, and get it repaired or replaced
- the fabric is not worn, and is strongly fixed to the frame.
Using jump, swing and play equipment safely
Always supervise children and babies when using any of these products.
Assembling play equipment
- Carefully read and follow the assembly instructions.
- If you're in any doubt about how to assemble the product, or if you think there are parts missing, check back with the retailer or the manufacturer.
Swings and slides
- Make sure that swings and slide sets are stable and set up on even ground.
- Make sure there are no protruding sharp edges from any of the surfaces.
- Check all bolts and screws are tight and in good condition.
- Check for squeaks, rust and general wear and tear. If any of these are present, don't let children use the swing or slide — get it repaired or replaced.
Bouncers and jumpers
- Make sure the door frame is sturdy enough to hold the bouncer or jumper. You may need a reinforcement strip.
- Check that the holding clips are in perfect condition. If your bouncer is second-hand or more than 4 years old, check the clips regularly and replace them at the first sign of wear.
- Check the spring is securely fastened, the hooks at each end are not damaged, and that it has a safety cord in the centre.
- Check that the top attachment holding the bouncer is firmly secured to the door frame or ceiling, as instructed by the manufacturer.
- Don't modify the bouncer. Home-made modifications will affect the bouncer’s performance and can result in injury to your child.
- Replace or repair any fabric that appears torn or weak.
- Watch that other children don't push or twirl the bouncer.
See Bouncinettes for information about how to use these safely.
Use the trampoline in a clear, open area that is well-lit so users can see what they're doing. Ensure that the area around the trampoline — ideally 2 metres wide on all sides — is free from hazards like buildings, walls, play equipment or garden furniture.
A minimum overhead clearance of 8 metres from ground level is recommended to avoid objects like clothes lines, trees and wires. The height of the trampoline plus the heights that users can reach means a potential to become tangled or hit an overhead object.
Don't use the trampoline on a hard surface such as a concrete driveway. Ideally, you should cover a 2 metre area of ground all around the trampoline with a thick layer of soft, impact-absorbing material — for example pine bark, woodchips or sand. Rake this regularly to reduce compacting.
Trampolines are frequently stored outside and open to the elements, so it's essential that you regularly check that the trampoline is in good condition, making sure that the:
- mat doesn't have holes
- springs are intact and securely attached at both ends
- frame isn't bent
- leg braces are securely locked.
- Check for any rust, corrosion or similar signs of deterioration.
- If you're in any doubt, avoid using the trampoline until you've made the appropriate repairs or replaced any broken or worn parts.
- If it's going to be difficult to repair consider getting rid of it.
- Make sure the trampoline has safety padding on the frame. Padding helps prevent injuries if a child accidentally hits the frame.
- Make sure the safety pads are a contrasting colour to the mat. This can help children to keep away from the edges.
- It's a good idea to buy safety pads to completely cover the steel frame and springs if your trampoline doesn't already have them.
Many modern trampolines have safety netting that either comes as standard or can be bought as an extra. Side netting makes it less likely that children will fall off.
You can put netting around the outer frames or around the edge of the mat itself. Putting the net around the edge of the mat is safer as children are less likely to hit the frame or springs.
Other safety tips when using the trampoline
Supervise children at all times and take particular care with children under 6 years old.
Keep away from the trampoline when someone else is using it.
Sitting on the trampoline
Never sit on the padding or go under the trampoline when someone else is jumping.
Care with infants and toddlers
Keep toddlers away from the trampoline when people are using it. Be especially careful they don't go underneath it. Infants can suffer serious injuries from falls, pinching and crushing if they use trampolines or are near a trampoline when others are using it.
One at a time
Make sure only one child at a time uses the trampoline. Injuries can occur when 2 or more children collide when using a trampoline at the same time (regardless of whether the trampoline has side netting).
Never have an adult and a child using a trampoline at the same time — if a collision were to occur then it's highly likely the child would come off worse.
Somersaults and tricks
Injuries can occur. To avoid serious injury, children should only perform these under supervision. Ideally, high-risk actions like these should be learned from a trained professional, for example in a gymnastics class.
Teach your child to jump in the centre of the mat and to climb off safely.
NEVER jump off the trampoline. Jumping off can be dangerous and cause injury.
Use in the dry
If a trampoline mat is wet from rain etc. the surface can become very slippery, so it's best only to use a trampoline when the mat is dry.
Reporting an issue with safety
If you have a safety problem or concern with jump, swing and play equipment, let us know.
Under the Consumer Guarantees Act you can get a refund, replacement or compensation if goods are unsafe. The Consumer Protection website has more information about what to do when you have a problem with goods.