Gymnastics mats are useful for assisting in sequence work, but they are not an adequate prevention measure for falling from heights.
Mats should be used with caution and in accordance with the purposes for which they are intended. Students should understand the correct use and limitation of gymnastics mats and appreciate that it is a safe practice and a good technique that will prevent them from falling.
Although it is common practice to see mats at the base of a climbing frame, these mats may have limited potential to reduce the impact of a low-level accidental fall, and cannot be considered adequate in preventing head injury and or concussion.
The primary function of gymnastics mats is to provide a surface to extend a sequence on the floor, or to designate the planned area for dismounting from climbing equipment. To avoid tripping hazards, mats should be placed only in areas where they will not present a hazard.
Gymnastics staff must feel competent and confident in their ability to teach safely. If this is not the case, they should make this known to their line manager. Until sufficient training has been completed, they should only use low-level equipment in lessons.
Also, read our blog post on the safe use and maintenance of PE and gymnastics mats.