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Supplying Fun and Safe Event Environment: Inflatables

At this time of the year, it is common for organizations to host end-of-summer parties or back-to-school celebrations. They serve as a chance to reflect on the fun times of summer and look ahead to an exciting new school year. This same transition applies to churches, as well. Moving from Vacation Bible School to regularly hosted Sunday School, churches are ready to celebrate the fall.

In planning these celebrations, many organizations may consider inflatable rides to serve as entertainment for children and families. However, while these items are popular and bring a lot of excitement to an event’s atmosphere, there are dangers associated with their use.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission defines an inflatable amusement ride as an air-filled structure for recreational use, made of flexible fabric, kept inflated by continuous air flow by one or more blowers, and relying upon air pressure to maintain its shape. Three popular inflatables include the moon bounce, slide, and obstacle course.

If you are planning to use this form of entertainment for your upcoming event, consider the following safety measures:

  • Rent from a reputable, insured business, and require a certificate of general liability insurance, and have your organization named as an additional insured on the rental company’s insurance.
  • Ask the rental company to perform installation and tear down.
  • Require adult supervision at all times and see that supervisors are properly trained. This should be provided by the rental company.
  • See that all equipment is provided with a label stating the proper age and weight of users, as well as the maximum number of participants allowed to play in the unit at one time.
  • Set up the inflatable on soft, level surfaces, and place a tarp on ground to protect the bottom of the unit. Avoid hard surfaces to limit injuries if a participant were to fall out of the inflatable.
  • Properly anchor according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Consider safe electrical precautions if using inflatables outdoors, such as using an electrical outlet for the blower motor that is ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected.
  • Inspect the inflatable before use to make sure it is fully inflated, not sagging and free from visible tears, rips or holes.
  • Do not use the inflatable if wind speeds will exceed the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Monitor weather forecasts closely if using inflatables outdoors, and do not operate in wet conditions or if threatening weather is approaching.

In following these safety precautions, you can help ensure the well-being of all who participate in inflatable rides. Make sure the fun doesn’t stop for your guests, and see that your event remains entertaining and injury-free. For more information, review the Festival Safety fact sheet on SafeChurch.

© 2024 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.