Don’t forget to keep the safety of your congregation in mind when planning the entertainment at your next outdoor gathering.
Inflatable amusements, such as bounce houses, are becoming an increasingly popular entertainment option that, without proper planning and safe operation, can pose a serious safety risk.
There is a possibility of the inflatable flipping over, flying away, collapsing and injuring adults and children alike.
In April two children were injured when the wind lifted a bouncy castle into the air and across three lanes of traffic in Arizona.
More recently, 13 adults and children were injured when strong winds lifted three bounce houses — with children playing inside — into the air and dragged them along the ground in Oceanside, N.Y.
Here are safety tips to follow if you plan to set up an inflatable fun house for a congregational event:
- In addition to the space required for the equipment itself, there should be an additional 10 feet between each inflatable.
- Limit the number of users in the device.
- Securely anchor the inflatable to the ground with stakes. While stakes work well on grass, there is cause for concern if the inflatable is set up on asphalt, cement or indoors. In these cases use water bags or sandbags.
- Place the blower near an electrical outlet so that it can’t accidentally be unplugged allowing the inflatable to collapse.
- Make sure you follow the age recommendation provided by the manufacturer. Some items are recommended for ages 13 and younger.
- Have responsible adults, well-versed in the operating and safety instructions, set up, operate and supervise all attractions.
- Safety signs specific to each inflatable should be clearly posted, detailing the rules for users.
- When the unit is inflated, check for rips or holes.
- Make sure all children are grouped according to size.
- Turn the unit off during inclement weather or high winds.
- Check for a current state decal on the equipment, meaning it’s been inspected and approved.