By Samuetta Hill Drew
Over the past two weeks we’ve reviewed several preventive safety measures that renters or owners of inflatable bounce houses/castles should follow, along with the medical rationales associated with them. This final article on this particular topic will zero in on recommended safety measures when they are in actual use by children.
• Usually children with some existing medical conditions are not recommended to participate in bounce houses/castles. If you’re unsure, consult your child’s doctor first. Typically, children with neck injuries, back injuries, joint injuries, heart problems, asthma, bronchitis, circulatory problems or any other health concerns bouncers could potentially worsen should avoid using a bouncer.
• Children should take off their shoes, glasses or jewelry before getting into the bouncer. It is also equally important that the child’s pockets are emptied, especially of any sharp objects like a pen or pencil, etc. You may wish to have a container for them to place their things in while inside the bouncer. They can retrieve them afterwards.
• Speak to children before they enter and talk about some safety rules while jumping. These safety rules should include no touching, stunts like flips or any type of rough playing like wrestling.
• If your inflatable play equipment is a slide: Make sure you advise the children to never slide headfirst. They should always make sure the slide is clear before they use it. This helps to prevent collisions with other children. Advise them not to stand up on the slide. It is the adult’s responsibility to make sure the slide is in a safe location that has no rocks, nearby ant beds or glass or any other unsafe landing surface for the children once they slide down.
• Many injuries, believe it or not, occur when the child is entering or exiting the bouncer. You may want an adult to be on hand to help the children as they get in or out, especially younger children. It is recommended to place some padding outside the bouncer exit.
• Lastly, monitor the temperature if you’re using the bouncers outside so it does not become so hot it’s unsafe for the children to use. If temperatures are above 90° Fahrenheit, the direct sun exposure can make the bouncers unsafe for children. Remember prolonged exposure to the sun will also destroy the bouncer’s fabric.
Hopefully these articles have been or will be helpful as you Keep an Eye on Safety this summer while using these types of inflatable toy equipment. They offer loads of fun for children, but safety must be the number one priority before, during and after using them.