Sweden sees giant leap in trampoline accidents

Sweden has witnessed a tenfold increase in trampoline accidents in recent years as the spring-loaded devices continue to grow in popularity.

Sweden sees giant leap in trampoline accidents

More than 5,000 cases of trampoline-related injuries were registered in 2008, a sharp increase on previous years. But preliminary figures for 2009 indicate that several hundred more children bounced their way to the country’s clinics and hospitals last year, according to statistics reviewed by Barnolycksfonden, a research foundation run jointly by insurance firm Trygg-Hansa and Astrid Lindgren’s Children’s Hospital.

“One probable cause is that more people are getting trampolines, possibly combined with a development whereby people are trying our more advanced moves that they haven’t quite mastered,” said Björn Sporrong, a board member at Barnolycksfonden.

Twisted wrists, ankles, fingers and arms are the most common injuries sustained by children on trampolines, while neck and head injuries are also common.

The majority of injuries occur when several children play on a trampoline at the same time, increasing the risk of collisions, falls and accidental headbutts.

One out of ten trampoline injuries leave children requiring hospital treatment, while the average age of children injured using trampolines is eleven. Figures also show that girls in the younger age groups are more likely to sustain injuries than boys.

Björn Sporrong was however keen to stress that trampolines are not only instruments of injury.

“They help develop balance, coordination and fitness. Used in the right way they can be really fun playthings.”

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Be wary of perilous Easter ice, Sweden warned

The beginning of spring means an increased risk of falling through surface ice on lakes and watercourses that are thawing.

Be wary of perilous Easter ice, Sweden warned
File photo: Tobias Röstlund / TT

With April a particularly dangerous month, Easter holidaymakers have been advised to take extra care.

“There are a lot of snowmobiles out there during Easter. It is the time of year when snowmobiles are used the most, especially in the mountains. Easter falls very late this year and that means the ice is much weaker,” said Per-Olov Wikberg, coordinator with Nationella snöskoterrådet (National Snowmobile Council).

According to Wikberg, the majority of snowmobile accidents happen around Easter. Of 70 deaths due to accidents involving the vehicle type in the last ten years, almost half were the result of drowning. Several other serious ice-related accidents have also occurred.

“The thing that is special about snowmobiles is that they are heavy and can travel very fast. You can quickly find yourself on bad ice without hearing or seeing the warning signs,” he said.

A survey carried out by the snowmobile council found that three out of ten people had experienced an accident caused by ice breaking or nearly breaking.

Only four out of ten said they had consulted somebody with local knowledge before heading out onto the ice.

Authorities therefore advise the public to always prioritise safety when deciding whether to go out on the vehicles or on the ice in general, particularly in unfamiliar areas.

“This year it’s nasty. The ice can crack very fast and this does not depend so much on the temperature, but on the fact the sun is high in the sky. That warms the inside of the ice,” said project manager Jan Insulander of ice safety advisory board Issäkerhetsrådet.

“Keep in mind that ice that was hard and cold in the morning can become slush that you can fall through later in the day,” he added.

The National Snowmobile Council believes that the public needs better – potentially life-saving – knowledge about ice and lakes.

“Everyone should have respect for the ice, because the ice can quickly become bad in the spring because of heat and sunshine,” Wikberg said.

READ ALSO: Five top tips for staying safe on the ice in Sweden