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Inflatables and Child Safety

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 10 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Inflatables Bouncy Castle Inflatable

From bouncy castles to lilos, children love playing with inflatable toys and objects. But there are some important child safety issues to be aware of to ensure you day out doesn't end in disaster.

Bouncy Castles

Many children love the chance to have a go on a bouncy castle, either when you’re out and about visiting attractions, or if one has been hired especially for a children’s party. But as innocent as bouncing around on an inflatable castle may seem, there are some important potential dangers to be aware of.

Bouncy castles are safe as long as certain rules and regulations are adhered to. When the castle is set up, it needs to properly anchored to the ground with good mooring straps, to ensure it’s completely solid and can’t be accidentally blown by a strong gust of wind. Impact absorbing mats needs to be used at the opening of the bouncy castle and around any sides that are open.

Any bouncy castle used by children, whether it’s at a venue or at someone’s party, needs to be properly supervised by adults at all times. Before getting on the bouncy castle, children should remove their shoes and any articles of clothing or jewellery they have on that has sharp bits on it, as it could damage the inflatable.

Keeping Track of Who's On a Bouncy Castle

It’s also important to keep a careful check of how many children are on the bouncy castle at any one time and what age groups they are. Too many children can cause problems and overload the bouncy castle, and older boisterous children could accidentally throw younger children off balance and cause accidents.

If you’re hiring a bouncy castle, then it will come with recommendations for how many children can safely be on at any one time and what size or age they should be. Rotas can be used to ensure everyone gets a go safely. While bouncing is fine, children shouldn’t be allowed to try to climb the walls of the bouncy castle or attempt acrobatics, as both could be dangerous to them and other children using the inflatable.

Dinghies and Other Inflatables

Small inflatable rubber dinghies, rubber boats, lilos and other inflatable items are often used at the beach or around pools. While they can be fun to use and it’s pleasant to lie on the beach on an inflatable airbed, there are serious safety issues to take into consideration – both for children and adults. To ensure your children have fun and Stay Safe On The Beach, you need to be aware of the dangers.

One of the biggest problems with inflatable objects is that they’re full of air and therefore very light. If there’s a sudden gust of wind, they can easily be swept away and if there’s a child on them at the time, it can be very dangerous.

What’s more, if you’re at the seaside, you’ve got the added danger that inflatables could also be caught unawares by a wave and washed out to sea. Accidents like this involving inflatables such as lilos happen incredibly quickly and it’s often too sudden and unexpected for anyone to do much to help.

If you are going to let your children use inflatables, such as inflatable dinghies or lilos, then you need to ensure you employ some safety measures. For example:

  • If lilos are being used on the beach, ensure they are placed well away from the sea. In fact, they’re best not used in the sea at all by children or even adults.
  • Dinghies shouldn’t be used unaccompanied by children in the sea either. If used on the beach, it’s advisable to tether them securely so they won’t be blown away or tipped over.
  • Don’t leave children unattended in a pool or using inflatables, such as lilos or inflatable toys.

It sounds like a lot to take in, but used with care and attention, bouncy castles and other inflatables can be safely used and enjoyed.

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