Whilst bouncy castles are a lot of fun, for many parents they are understandably a common cause of jangled nerves. The truth is that like with most things, bouncy castles are relatively safe provided all the appropriate safety precautions are followed.
You will find bouncy castle safety advice scattered across the web, however it can be difficult to find information that is relevant for your specific circumstances. For example the advice needed by a parent looking to hire a bouncy castle out for their child’s party is different to advice needed by a parent simply deciding whether they should allow their child have a go on a castle set up at a funfair.
Safety Advice for Castles at Funfairs
This advice applies to any situation where somebody other than yourself has been responsible for hiring and / or running of the castle. You will not have access to information like the manufacturers maximum load guidelines and age restrictions, but there is still plenty to be gleaned through observing the castle and its surroundings.
Safety check list
- Site – The surface should be near horizontal. If there is a slight slope, the bouncy castle entrance should be at the raised end.
- Weather – Bouncy castles should not be used in the rain. If it does rain, the castle should be allowed to dry out before being used again.
- Anchoring – The bouncy castle should be secured all the way round.
- Safety mats – On hard surfaces, impact absorbing mats should be spread all around the open side of the castle. On softer surfaces this may not be necessary.
- Supervision – There should be at least one person supervising the children on the castle. You will want to look for evidence that this attendant is actually controlling the children, preventing them from climbing on the walls for example.
- Numbers and age range – By observing the children on the castle for a short period of time, you will get an idea of how likely it is that collisions will occur. Common sense will often tell you whether the number of children is appropriate and reasonably safe. The attendant should also make arrangements so that only similarly aged children are on the castle at any one time.
- Rules of play – For obvious safety reasons, all children must be asked to remove any hard or sharp clothing or accessories such as shoes, jewellery and buckles.
On a tangent: Check out our tips on where you can find cheap bouncy castles for sale.
Safety Advice for Hiring a Castle for a Party
- Insurance – Does the provider have a public liability insurance?
- Health & Safety Inspection – Does the bouncy castle carry a genuine and up to date tag proving that an inspection required by the Health and Safety at Work Act has been carried out?