Recognising a well run bouncy castle
Before giving into your child’s pleadings to go on a bouncy castle, spend a couple of minutes checking out the operation. We recommend parents ask themselves the following questions:
- Is the bouncy castle securely anchored? All anchorage points should be used and if situated on hard ground, mooring straps should be affixed to solid points.
- Are impact absorbing mats positioned at the open side of the bouncy castle, extending a sufficient distance forward to ensure sufficient protection? (Mats may not be necessary on soft ground).
- Is there at least one person constantly supervising the children on the bouncy castle? An attendant who is collecting money cannot also supervise the activity.
- Does the bouncy castle seem overcrowded? If children are constantly knocking into each other, the attendant may not be following the maximum load recommendations.
- Are children of different ages/sizes mixed? If the demand is great the attendant should operate a rota to avoid larger children crushing smaller ones.
- Are children instructed to remove sharp articles of clothing like shoes, buckles and jewellery and is the rule enforced?
- Is there evidence that the attendant is controlling the children? Horseplay should not be allowed, and children should not climb on the walls of the inflatable.
Thinking of hiring or using your own bouncy castle?
Before deciding which firm to hire a bouncy castle from, ask them for detailed guidelines which should include information relating to the following:
- The selection of an appropriate site for the castle, plus additional measures such as cushioning hard ground at the open side.
- How to perform an inspection of the castle.
- Inflation and mooring of the castle; stakes should be at least a foot long. NEVER hire one without means of anchorage if the inflatable is for outdoor use.
- Recommended maximum number of children that can be safely accommodated on the castle at any one time. This will be influenced by the age and size of the children who are to use the inflatable.
- Advice on the use of additional equipment such as perimeter barriers.
- What to do in the event of wet or windy weather.
- Proposed supervision arrangements - a responsible adult should supervise and manage children at all times while it is being used.
- Implement rota systems which avoid the mixing of different ages or sizes.
- Appropriate behaviour of children (Children should not climb on walls, attempt acrobatics e.g. somersaults, or take food or drink onto the inflatable).
- How to protect children and others from electrical equipment.
- Extra insurance cover may be necessary if you hire a bouncy castle
- We recommend that adults and children should not be on bouncy castles together
- Adults should only use bouncy castles made specifically for adult size and weight
ISRM The Safe Use and Operation of Bouncy Castles
Amusement Device Inspections Procedures Scheme (ADIPS)
PIPA Inflatable Play Inspection
Hire Association Europe Bouncy Castle Safety Instructions
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