A University of Canterbury designed Springfree trampoline has won the Best of the Best prize in one of the world’s largest product competitions, the 2014 international Red Dot Awards. The safety trampoline designed by the university’s Professor Keith Alexander received the Best of the Best honours for its highest quality and ground-breaking design.
Professor Alexander says the trampoline is safe by design, offering new technology combined with a patented safety system to bring parents and children a brand new trampoline design. ‘After years of research and development, we eliminated the major risks of injury associated with traditional spring-based trampolines.’
Professor Alexander has won the New Zealand Engineering Innovator of the Year award for his spring free trampoline invention, which now sells around the world and has won seven international awards including the Child Product of the Year in the United States of America.
Improving safety and standards
During the 3-year period from January 2010 to December 2012, 145 children aged 0 – 14 years were admitted to Starship Children’s Health with trampoline-related injuries. Falls were the leading cause of trampoline-related admissions (95%).
We talked to Professor Alexander about trampoline safety and standards in 2011, when he won the inaugural University of Canterbury Innovation Medal. He says that while children can hurt themselves on any trampoline, the principle of the Springfree trampoline design is to get rid of the aspects of the trampoline that cause injuries.
'We make sure the trampoline itself doesn’t cause injury. There are built-in nets that don’t deteriorate. The steel frame is underneath the trampoline so children fall on a soft edge, and there are no holes at the edge or hard bits to land on.’
His goal is to make international safety standards more effective in reducing trampoline injuries.
‘We have a product we sell internationally. I’ve taken the initiative to get involved in the USA and Australian standards to ensure our product complies with the standards in those countries and to improve safety.
‘Currently the USA and the Australian standards are different in what they require, so our factory in China needs to tailor the product to meet both standards. I want the two standards to be as close to the same as we can possibly get them, for international uniformity and safety. I’m also getting in early for the European market and monitoring standards activity for trampolines there.’
Note: The New Zealand Standard NZS 5855:1997 Consumer safety specification for components, assembly, and use of a trampoline is identical to ASTM F381-95, with modifications for New Zealand.