Guidance for the safe use of inflatables

Inflatable equipment are the mainstay of children's parties and children’s play areas but following the death’s and injuries of a number of children in recent years, how safe are inflatable trampolines and bouncy castles?

It has been established that two different pieces of equipment have been involved in recent incidents, one being a sealed air trampoline, this type of equipment is normally inflated with an air compressor and then sealed so there is no air flow in or out. The second, bouncy castles have a blower connected to keep the unit inflated as it is designed for air to escape through the seams of the equipment.

Traditional inflatable devices should be designed and manufactured in line with BS 14960:2013, used in accordance with the manufactures instructions, and under a suitable and sufficient regime of ongoing maintenance and inspection.

Sealed air devices should follow manufacturer’s instructions and the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and associated legislation including Risk Assessment.

The HSE has freely available published information on its website for the safe use of inflatables, which is set out below.

Guidance

• BS EN 14960: 2013 Inflatable play equipment. Safety requirements and test methods is the European Standard regarding manufacture and operation.

• HSE Guidance can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/fairgrounds/faqs.htm#inflatables

• Information on the PIPA scheme can be found at: http://www.pipa.org.uk

• Information on the ADIPs scheme can be found at: http://www.adips.co.uk