After over a year of no parties and staying away from friends and family, many of us are looking forward to a summer with more freedom and fun.
Entertaining outdoors still seems like the safer option for many, and to make our gardens and outdoor spaces more fun for the kids, many are looking into hiring things like bouncy castles for birthday- or garden parties.
However, parents are now being warned about the dangers of hiring a bouncy castle for their garden do’s – as it was recently revealed that one in three operators in the UK are now not up-to-date with inflatable inspections after lockdown.
With summer holidays and long weekends coming up, many families across the country are expected to hire inflatable fun-runs or bouncy castles for their gardens, but the Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII) – an international body for training inflatable inspectors and operators warns parents there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with hiring a bouncy castle – including being legally responsible for all children once the operator leaves.
The RPII and PIPA have in the UK joined forces to launch a new campaign called #BounceSafe, which calls for people who hire bouncy castles to do three key things before booking:
- Ask the three key questions of the operator at the point when they hire: – Do you have a PIPA tag and number? Are you insured? And have you done the RPII operator training during the last three years?
- Supervise the bouncy castle at all times once the operator leaves a private at-home event.
- Follow simple safety advice during the event and brief users about the rules before they go on
The reason we need to all take bouncy castles serious is that the injuries that can be sustained on them can be both serious, and, in the worst-case scenario, lethal.
Statistics from the UK show that more than 10,000 children are injured in bouncy castle accidents every year. Falling from the structure, becoming trapped inside or being on a bouncy castle that has blown away has the potential to result in severe injuries such as broken bones, lacerations and spinal and head injuries.
Here are some rules health and safety experts say should be adhered to when using a bouncy castle or any kind of inflatable structure:
- Restrict the number of users on the inflatable at the same time to the limit in the operator manual or on the unit label
- Don’t exceed the user height limit and keep bigger users separated from smaller ones
- Make sure users can get on and off safely, with safety matting at the entrance that is no more than two inches deep
- People should not wear shoes or glasses, and should empty their pockets of all sharp or dangerous items
- Anyone obviously intoxicated should not be allowed on
- Don’t allow users to climb or hang on the walls
- Regularly check that anchor points are still secure
- When operating the inflatable outside, use an anemometer to measure wind conditions at regular intervals, and visually check for changes in wind direction (such as looking at how the trees are swaying).