Play equipment

Play equipment can erode, especially if it lives outside – it needs to be regularly checked and maintained.

What you need to know

  • Young children need adult supervision when using toys or play equipment.
  • Play equipment can erode – it should be regularly checked and maintained.

What you need to do

  • Carefully read and follow the assembly instructions.
  • If you're in any doubt about how to assemble a product, or if you think there are parts missing, check back with the retailer or the manufacturer.

If you're buying second-hand jump, swing and play equipment, or are given a hand-me-down product, check:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Trampolines

    Open area

    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.

    Overhead clearance

    A minimum overhead clearance of 8 metres from ground level is recommended to avoid objects like clothes lines, trees and wires.

    Soft surface

    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, wood chips or sand. Rake this regularly to reduce compacting.

    Regular checks

    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.

    Make sure the:

    • mat doesn't have holes
    • springs are intact and securely attached at both ends
    • frame isn't bent
    • leg braces are securely locked.

    Damage

    • 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.

    Padding

    • 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.

    Safety netting

    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.

    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.
    • Never sit on the padding or go under the trampoline when someone else is jumping.
    • Keep toddlers away from the trampoline when people are using it.
    • 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.
    • Teach your child to jump in the centre of the mat and to climb off safely.
  • 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.

If you have a safety problem or concern

If you have some concerns about the safety of a product or if you’re injured by a product, you should tell the retailer or supplier about it.

You also have the right to ask for a remedy such as a refund, replacement or repair under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). One of the guarantees in the CGA is that products must be of acceptable quality and this includes that the product is safe.

Faulty products – Consumer Protection(external link)

In addition, it’s good to report the details to us – product safety reports from the public help government agencies to identify systemic issues and help us to prioritise and respond to issues.

Report an unsafe product