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5th Grader Interviews Springfree Trampoline Inventor for School Project

5th grader Matthew Strauss interviews Springfree Trampoline inventor Dr. Keith Alexander for a school project. Discover their fascinating hour-long Q&A session! 

min read

5th Grader Interviews Springfree Trampoline Inventor for School Project

When 5th grader Matthew Strauss was asked to choose a research topic, Springfree Trampoline naturally came up.  

Matthew and his family purchased a Springfree Trampoline from Miller’s Toys in Westchester, New York, during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

They purchased based on Springfree’s “amazing reviews” and the recommendation of “a toy store we trust,” according to Matthew’s mother, Stacey.   

Since then, Springfree has become a staple in the Strauss Family’s backyard.  

Matthew and his siblings even prefer their Springfree Trampoline over their pool!  

A family of 5 sitting and smiling on a Springfree Trampoline.

 

With this research project, Matthew didn’t want to talk to just any expert about the making of Springfree Trampoline.   

He wanted to talk with THE expert – the inventor of the Springfree Trampoline, Dr. Keith Alexander.   

After coordinating schedules, Matthew and Dr. Alexander met in an hour-long interview filled with fascinating insights.  

Read below for snippets of the Q&A between Matthew and Dr. Alexander! 

(Stay until the end to see a picture of Matthew's final project!)

All photos courtesy of the Strauss Family, Dr. Keith Alexander and Springfree Trampoline. 

1. How Long Have You Been Working With Trampolines?   

 “I've been working on trampolines probably since about 1988, so it's quite a long time now.”  

2. Do You Know Why You Started Doing Trampolines? 

“Yeah, that’s a good question. Why would I want to do that from 1988 up to now?  

When I was about 10-14, they had trampolines, but it was only in gymnastics clubs. They are very expensive, and you had to be going for the Olympics or something like that to have a trampoline.   

But I thought it was so cool because you could get really high, and I loved the idea of flying.  

When I got older and got married and we had a daughter, I thought, wow, now I could buy a trampoline for my daughter and then I can jump on it myself. So, I told my wife, we're going to get a trampoline for Katie.  

My wife said no, they're too dangerous and we had a bit of an argument over it.  

And then I thought, well, you know, I'm an engineer. Maybe I should be able to do something about this. Maybe I can design a better one. 

So that's really the background to how it started.” 

Springfree Trampoline inventor Dr. Keith Alexander posing with a trampoline in the distance.

 

3. What Was Your Job Before You Did Trampolines?  

“I had quite a few jobs. Sort of the first job I really had was working in a little workshop and then I learned how to be a teacher.  

And so, I was a schoolteacher for three years and then I decided teaching wasn't for me at all. So, I went to university and got a degree and then did some research and got a PhD and then did some engineering.”  

4. What Motivated You to Make the Trampoline Safe and Add Safety Features?   

“Trampolines {weren’t} all that good {back then}, especially because my wife said that they were too dangerous.  

So, I started thinking about the things that might make one safer and the specific things that made it safer.  

At the time I thought there's a lot of trampolines, especially in New Zealand with just steel bar around the edge and all the springs there and you could land on them and there's nothing covering them to stop you {from} hurting yourself.   

So, I started thinking if I could make the edge soft, I mean like a sofa, you can bounce on a sofa, but it doesn't have a steel bar there that you'd fall on. So why can't I make a trampoline like that?  

And then I also found out later on that one of the worst injuries you get is if you fall off onto the ground and you land on a bicycle or something like that. So, I thought, well, really, we need a net.  

So that was two things I did is I made a soft edge and then I put a net on it. And the third thing that I made it safer by taking away the need for the pads.   

They used to last only well less than a year quite often.  

So, on a Springfree Trampoline, they are replaced by a soft edge and last probably 10 years at least.” 

Springfree Trampoline safety features.

 

Springfree Trampoline safety features.   

5. How Do You Think Trampolines Have Changed or Evolved?   

“They used to just be gymnastic equipment and now you can buy them. They’ve got cheaper and smaller. Now, you can get rectangular ones, you can get square ones, octagonal ones, round ones, oval ones.  

So, there's lots of different shapes and originally there were no safety rules.  

I talked about that before, but then in 1975 they got some safety rules and then 1998, they were getting lots of injuries because there was lots of trampolines being sold and they were forced to have more safety rules.”  

6. What Are the Pros and Cons of Having a Trampoline?  

“Oh, so the pros of having a trampoline, well you can jump on it and have fun and you can exercise. You can also develop your skills. So, if you become really good on a trampoline, maybe you join a trampoline club.  

And, whether your parents like it or not, you'll be pushing the limits, seeing what you can do.  

And then what about the cons?  

Well, if you get a cheap trampoline, it is likely to fall apart quite soon, say three years or less. And then it's dangerous.  

One of the cons is that takes up space in your backyard. Another one is, and if you look at my trampoline now in the fall it collects a lot of leaves. Or if you're in Canada, it collects a lot of snow.  

7. What Are Some Health Benefits of Jumping on a Trampoline? Does It Help Reduce Stress?  

“Well, the health benefits are that it gets you exercising and gives you a big buzz because you can get high.   

It's quite exciting, but the large muscle exercise is good for getting fit.  

And you asked about stress. And I suppose you mean your mother's stress, because I know lots of mothers are saying ‘Get outside and get on the trampoline because they're stressed!’  

But certainly, there's a lot of people who are ADHD or autistic and they like trampolines because they like the rhythm.”  

A kid jumping in mid-air on a square-shaped Springfree Trampoline.

8. Why Do You Like Working in the Trampoline Business?  

“Well, because the trampoline business is making the trampoline that I invented. You know, it makes me feel good about myself. (laughs)  

But another thing that is good about it is that I think I can make them safer and, and I can monitor what's going on and I've got a seat at the table, if you like, when they make the rules because I'm helping to write the standards now.  

And that means not only do I make trampolines safer for kids because I'm selling my trampoline, but I can change the rules to make trampolines safer for everybody, not just the ones that buy my trampoline.  

And that means I think I'm being a big benefit to mankind.” 

9. Can You Tell Me the Funniest Thing That's Happened to You While Working on Trampolines?  

“One of the funniest things was somebody sent me a photo of a trampoline in the middle of a freeway in a in a windstorm.  

And it turned out that that trampoline had gone over a mile, so it had flown for over a mile, plumped itself down in the freeway, and it kind of was sitting there looking like, anyone want to come and jump on me?  

I thought that was pretty good.” 

A Springfree Trampoline in the middle of the highway on a rainy day.

 

10. Do You See Yourself Working with Trampolines for the Rest of Your Life?

“I would like to keep working on trampolines as a sort of a hobby as I get older. I'm pretty happy with it and could see myself doing it for a long time”  

11. Is There a Life Lesson You've Learned While Working with Trampolines?  

“I learned to have long-term goals and use them to help you make life decisions.   

Work with good people, people who are going to be reliable and that you respect. Your relationships with people are more important than making money. So, summing up, good things take time and always work with good people.”  

12. Is There Anything That I've Left Out That You'd Like to Answer?  

“So, one of the things that I have found important, I've been a professor at university, and they don't just teach people, but they also do research.  

So, I've done quite a lot of research into trampoline injuries and into whether the Springfree Trampoline is actually a safer trampoline. 

We did measurements in the USA and found what the injuries were like there and measurements in New Zealand and Australia and found what it was like there.  

And in particular, we did measurements of the Springfree Trampoline to see how that compared. 

Pie charts showing how injuries compare on conventional trampolines and Springfree Trampolines.

 

Springfree Trampolines got a much smaller proportion of injuries from the equipment and from falling off then all the trampolines in America and Australia.  

So, I'm quite proud of what the chart shows because it means that with the Springfree Trampoline, we have got rid of just about all of the injuries that we can control as engineers.”

 

See below for how Matthew's research project turned out -- we would say A+ for sure!

We at Springfree Trampoline want to thank Matthew and his family for a wonderful interview! 

A family of 5 standing happily holding hands on a Springfree Trampoline.

 

A family of 5 laying down on a Springfree Trampoline with leaves on it.

About Springfree Trampoline™     

Springfree Trampoline is the world’s safest, highest quality, and longest-lasting trampoline. Redefining backyard play and helping families go outside and be active through innovation rooted in safety and quality, Springfree Trampoline’s patented safety design is the only trampoline on the market that eliminates 90% of all product-related trampoline injuries. Springfree Trampoline is available in Springfree Retail stores and via select retailers and e-tailers across the United States. To learn more about Springfree Trampoline, find a store near you or to purchase online, go to www.springfreetrampoline.com or call 1 (877) 586-7723.     

About Miller’s Toys  

Miller’s Toys, established in 1908, is a noted dealer of Woodplay Playsets, Springfree Trampolines and First Team Basketball Goals, among other children’s products, in Westchester County, NY and lower Fairfield County, CT. They work with the area's leading playscaping designers to customize unique solutions for any family and property. You can learn more about their offerings at www.millerstoys.com.  

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