Wednesday, April 16, 2008


One of the children at our last Unschoolers Group meeting left in an ambulance. Seven years old, he had been wrestling on a trampoline with half a dozen other kids (including Tessa), had launched himself at another child, missed, and hit one of the trampoline springs with his forehead. The result was a large, and freely bleeding, gash. The trampoline did have pads to cover the springs but they had come away in places. Except in advertisements, I don't know that I've ever seen a tramp with the pads all neatly in place.

As it turned out, we could have stopped the bleeding and taken the invalid and his mother to the hospital ourselves, but in that first half minute when you have to decide whether or not to ring the ambulance, there was no way to know.

I have heard of fingers being severed by trampoline springs. I have heard of a baby or toddler double-bounced right over protective barriers, breaking a leg on landing. Josiah once landed badly off a trampoline and hurt his neck. Yet, there I was, inside chatting with friends, trusting that my children and others would use common sense on the trampoline. Now that I think about it, Josiah and Tessa, like most children, don't have much in the way of common sense!

So, Josiah, Tessa and I have been having discussions about safe use of trampolines. Children love tramps so much, it would be a shame I think to avoid them altogether, despite the risks. But I am inclined to restrict Tessa and Josiah to boring, one person at a time, jumping-in-the-centre-of-the-trampoline-only trampoline use.

Our young friend is recovering well, thankfully, though he may have a lasting scar.