The ups and downs of trampolines

They offer great entertainment, but are they safe?

trampoline 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
trampoline 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
I would like to buy a mini-trampoline for my granddaughters, who are two-anda- half to five-and-a-half years old. It will tire them out (they don’t nap enough) and it would help stop them from jumping on their parents’ (and my) living room furniture. I saw a sturdy model 20 centimeters off the floor that is strong enough for jumping by individuals up to 100 kilos. But I won’t buy it unless it is safe. Are there safety problems, and what can be done to eliminate them?
S.J., Jerusalem
 Drora Navon, spokeswoman of Beterem, the National Council for Child Safety and Health, replies:
For young children to use a trampoline, one must observe safety guidelines.
One should place the trampoline on a solid but soft surface such as blankets, grass or thin mattresses, or place blankets all around the trampoline so that if a child falls, he or she won’t get hurt. The children should jump one at a time and should always be under parental supervision.
Also, make sure there is nothing hanging from the ceiling under it such as an electrical fixture. It is also better not to let children use the trampoline after they’ve just eaten a heavy meal. Check the trampoline from time to time, such as the screw-in legs and the springs. They can wear helmets but it is not necessary.
Recently, I attended a brit mila (circumcision) where the baby was given a product called Rescue Drops prior to the procedure. I understand that parents are also giving these drops for teething. What is the position of experts on giving herbal medicines to infants and in particular to newborns?
R.B., Omer
Veteran pharmacist Howard Rice comments:
I would imagine that the “Rescue Remedy” that we find in Israel is the “adult” form of this food supplement and not the “baby” one that is only available abroad.
This means that it is in effect a preparation that contains alcohol (27 percent).
The adult version of Rescue Remedy contains: 5x (HPUS) dilution; star of Bethlehem/ orithogalum umbellatum; rock rose/ helianthemum; cherry plum/prunus cerasifera; impatiens/impatiens gladulifera; clematis/clematis vitalba; and 27% grapebased brandy as a preservative. The children’s version sold abroad contains: 5x (HPUS) dilution; star of Bethlehem/orithogalum umbellatum; rock rose/helianthemum; cherry plum/prunus cerasifera; impatiens/impatiens gladulifera; clematis/clematis vitalba; and the inactive ingredients of water and glycerine made from sunflower oil.
Since at a circumcision ceremony the child is often given gauze immersed in wine to suck on, it may well be that the [claimed] positive (anesthetic) effect felt by the infant is that of the alcohol rather than the plant ingredients in this formula. One cannot, however, cast aside the fact that this preparation has been around since the 1930s and has become internationally successful.
Having said this, with a baby who is only eight days old, one cannot know to what he may be allergic, and thus giving the drops to a child under two years of age could prove to be problematic if the infant has an allergy to one of the constituents. This risk could be allayed if a drop was first applied to the skin (behind the ear is usually recommended) to see whether a “wheel” of redness occurs.
Thereafter, give one drop orally and again observe the infant. If no untoward reaction is seen, it could be used for the circumcision.
Prof. Shaul Dollberg, head of neonatology at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and himself a ritual circumcisor (mohel), answers:
As there has been no medical research on this food product and its effect on children, either beneficial or harmful, I oppose giving this to newborns.
Prof. Eitan Kerem, chairman of pediatrics at Hadassah University Medical Center, adds:
My personal view is that the practice of giving herbal medicine that contains substances in concentrations that can cause an overdose in newborns is dangerous and should be abandoned.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 91000, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or e-mail it to, giving your initials, age and place of residence.