There have been a number of articles in the press over the last 12 months regarding the increase in injuries sustained on inflatable play equipment. Bouncy castle insurance is absolutely imperative if you own or are thinking of starting a business hiring such equipment.
Admittedly over the last few years there has been a sustained growth in the use of bouncy castles. Once only seen at theme parks and travelling fairs, they are now seen regularly at village fetes, town centre events and indeed private parties at peoples’ homes. I myself attended a party in the summer where there was some sort of inflatable jousting thing going on, and admittedly there were no injuries sustained on that occasion apart from dented pride as there were only adults there using the equipment!
Statistics vary according to sources, but for example in the US in 2012, a child was being admitted to hospital every 45minutes, or 30 children per day. Closer to home, the Boys’ Brigade youth association revealed figures that there are up to 10,000 injuries in the UK per annum of which circa 4,000 are in private homes. Whilst these figures may seem alarming, the majority, I would surmise are relatively minor cuts and bruises and would predominantly be attributed to ineffective supervision.
There have, however, been some horror stories. In April of this year at a car boot event involving hundreds of people at Ripley Cricket Club, North Yorkshire, a combined inflatable slide and bouncy castle broke free from its ground anchors after a sharp gust of wind and apparently blew across the field. The children who were on it at the time bounced straight off but the inflatable continued across the field felling people in its path including an elderly woman who was still under it as it eventually came to rest against a vehicle. Five people were taken to hospital but fortunately none was seriously hurt.
Sadly this was not the case in 2006 in Riverside Park, County Durham, where the late artist Maurice Agis was displaying his latest giant inflatable public artwork ‘Dreamspace V’. In a similar turn of events, the giant walk-through inflatable broke free from the ground and flew into the air with 30 people inside it. 2 were killed and a dozen had serious injuries. Ok so this wasn’t a typical bouncy castle perse, but if nothing it proved 2 things in my opinion. Art should be viewed in a gallery and inflatables should be insured. On that occasion, Mr. Agis was cleared of manslaughter but together with Chester-Le-Street Council they were both fined £20,000 for failing to ensure public safety.
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