Kids are laughing, adults are socializing, everyone seems happy and engaged with conversations at your event. You finally sit back to relax after all the prep and think to yourself, “all my hard work has paid off. This event couldn’t go any smoother”. That is until the unexpected happens. The screams that make your blood run cold and panic turns into adrenalin before you can even process what is actually happening. You find yourself in the midst of chaos, blurred faces running in every direction, adding to the noise. All you can make out in the distance is a very large, colourful blob, floating and spinning through the air as bodies are scattering from it. All you can muster from your breath is, “Someone call 911!” as you realize that something has gone terribly wrong!
An ambulance shows up and people in uniform bring out stretchers and carefully place a small body on it. A child has been seriously injured! Someone is in your face and you catch a few words from their lips saying, “supervision”, “insurance”, “bouncy castle” and “lawsuit”. You want to close your eyes and wish it was all a terrible dream, but you can’t seem to wake up from it. This is actually happening! “Pull yourself together“ you whisper to yourself and try to focus. “Where were my volunteers? I know I asked some people to watch the kids! Where did I rent the bouncy castle from? It’s all a blur at this point because I called so many companies. Did this one have insurance coverage? No I don’t think so, because I would have had to pay double the price and we were already over budget. What was their policy if an incident happened? Didn’t they follow all the safety standards when they set it up or was I supposed to check it? What a mess!”
Unfortunately this scenario is all too common and news reports of bouncy castle accidents are popping up more and more around the globe, such as this one from Shanghai, China just a couple days ago on October 5th 2014. The fact that bouncy castles are increasingly becoming popular at any birthday party or large event involving children is wonderful, but there are some very strict safety protocols that seem to be getting blurred. If you opt out of renting from a company that offers trained supervisors and insurance, you are accepting the full risk of incident and injury on your shoulders. It is then fully your responsibility to ensure that the castle is securely reinforced to the ground on a flat surface, that the weather conditions are suitable for your piece of equipment and that everyone on and around the castle are abiding by the safety rules, which are almost always posted on the castle itself.
In Sky News’ report on the Shanghai incident, they quoted that,
The company that made the bouncy castle said it would cover all the medical costs for the children. “This was due to our negligence,” a spokesman said. “We thought the structure was very heavy itself, so we didn’t reinforce it at the playground, and the space there is too limited for the reinforcement.”
To read more details of the incident, read HERE, although keep in mind it has been loosely translated to English
In BC we cannot stress enough to play it safe! Hire a bouncy castle company with a minimum 5 million liability insurance, BC Safety Authority certification, trained supervision and many years experience in the field. This could save yourself the possibility of a major lawsuit and from the guilt of endangering children at the cost of a cheaper route and staying under budget. Give us call today to ask us about our insurance policies and safety standards!