Check your gymnastic equipment
It is good practice to check all safety equipment before and after each use to ensure that it’s in proper working condition. Replace or repair it immediately if any problems are noted. Some other things to consider:
- Select equipment based on the planned activity, and make sure it’s appropriate for the age, size, and skill level of the gymnast.
- Periodically evaluate how your equipment is arranged. If your class size has grown, you may need to arrange equipment to avoid accidental collision of gymnasts with equipment or other athletes during practice or tournaments.
- Make sure the floor padding is thick enough to cushion a landing. Place and properly secure mats under equipment so they do not move.
- Inspect the floor surface and mats. Consider replacing all mats that show signs of excessive deterioration.
Kids grow quickly and at different rates, so it’s important for parents and coaches to monitor protective gear regularly. Depending on the activity, gear can include special gymnastics or athletic shoes; handgrips; sweat bands; wrist, ankle, or torso belts; and knee, elbow, and heel pads.
One way to get parents and kids interested in equipment safety is to host a sports clinic. Have a professional coaching group talk about the inherent risks of sports participation, proper technique, rules, safety equipment, nutrition, drug and alcohol abuse, sportsmanship, and having fun. If possible, have parent(s) participate. Ask parent(s) to sign a Certificate of Attendance -- this document is extremely helpful in the event of a claim or lawsuit.
Periodic checks with the Consumer Product Safety Commission will alert you to product recalls and provide additional safety tips. Check their web site at cpsc.gov or call their hotline at 800-638-2772.