In outdoor events like festivals and fairs, bouncy castles are increasingly becoming a regular part of the activities. It comes as no surprise, as these inflatable equipment are lots of fun for kids and kids-at-heart. Plus, they are easy to set-up and dismantle, too.
With kids landing on inflated surfaces, basically, it would seem that bouncy castles are the safest play structures around. However, accidents involving inflatable structures have been reported in a lot of countries such as the US, the UK, and Australia. A case in point is the accident that happened at the Bullsbrook Country Fair in Perth, where 3 children and a toddler were injured after a freak gust of wind lifted a bouncy castle last April. It flew and crashed 20 meters away, but luckily, the children were safe, with only minor injuries to remind them of the incident.
As you can see, bouncy castle safety is critical and should be observed from installation to actual use—as well as during deflation afterward. To prevent accidents, here are a few tips for adults and kids to keep in mind.
Hire or Buy from a Reputable Company
Parents or event organizers should make sure that the bouncy castle hire Perth company they choose meets Standard Australia’s requirements for land-borne inflatable devices. Indeed, don’t get fooled by cheaper services or products that come with substandard inflatables. These could easily tear, or worse, blow up while kids are still inside, leading to injuries.
While there are kids playing inside the bouncy castle, a responsible adult must be supervising at all times. You can prevent roughhousing and improper behavior that could result in kids getting hurt. In addition, you can monitor the bouncy castle from the outside as well. This will allow you to spot leaks and to make sure that the blower and fan are running, as they should.
Monitor the Weather
Before setting up the bouncy castle, installers should monitor the weather to ensure there’s no coming storm or some other inclement weather condition. Even with the inflatables weighed down, there’s still a chance that wind gusts could blow it away. In fact, bouncy castles shouldn’t be used at all when there are winds clocking in at 38 kilometers per hour. When the weather turns and wind gusts are expected, inflatables should be deflated immediately.
Secure the Anchor Points
Any inflatable structure should have at least 6 anchor points to ensure it won’t go airborne. The included ground stakes should be thick and long enough and must be driven to the ground at an angle. If the surface does not allow for stakes, then heavy sandbags must be used on the anchor points.
It can’t be emphasized enough how dangerous it is to use a bouncy castle outdoors without properly securing the anchors first. In fact, in most accidents involving inflatable structures, the cause is wind blowing it off the ground.
No Eating Inside
Don’t bring your food or drink inside the inflatable to keep it clean and neat for everyone. Besides cleanliness, you risk poking a hole in the bouncy castle with utensils like forks and knives.
To avoid fights and accidents inside the bouncy castle, roughhousing should be avoided and discouraged. This is all the truer if there’s a mix of kids of different ages inside, as roughhousing may cause older and bigger kids to accidentally bump or hurt the younger ones in all the excitement.
No Climbing the Walls
Even if the bouncy castle looks stable and big enough to hold a child’s weight, climbing the walls of the bouncy castle should be strictly prohibited. It may cause the castle to topple on its side, which endangers the other kids playing inside.
Remove Shoes, Jewellery, and Other Loose Accessories
Keep the bouncy castle hygienic by removing your shoes before entering. It’s also a good idea to remove loose accessories such as jewelry and badges to avoid puncturing the inflatables.
Enter Only When Fully Inflated
Do not allow anyone to enter the bouncy castle while it’s being inflated or deflated. The heavyweight of large inflatable structures is enough to suffocate anybody.
Prohibit Smoking and Barbecues Near the Inflatable Structure
For obvious reasons, you shouldn’t cook or smoke near any bouncy castle. Aside from the dangers of children inhaling second-hand smoke, the inflatable may also get damaged or even burst from the heat.
Bouncy castles, in general, are pretty safe and fun for the family. All you need to do is to keep these safety tips in mind to prevent accidents and injuries.