Bouncy castles, technically known as inflatable amusement devices, are a popular attraction at kids’ parties and at public events. As a parent, it's important to know what to look for when visiting events with bouncy castles. If it's a private event like a birthday party, no operating permit is necessary. However, if the inflatable device is being used in a public setting like a fair or community event, an operating permit and a licensed contractor are mandatory for set up and operation. Before letting your child hop in, it’s important to check for the following features to ensure the device is safe:
Anchoring is secure: Bouncy castles should be securely anchored to the ground to prevent movement by wind or user activity. This can include stakes driven into the ground, sandbags, or water containers.
The inflatable is being properly supervised: At least one person should be supervising the children using the bouncy castle. Larger bouncy castles may require more than one attendant. It's important that attendants collecting money or tickets should not also supervise the children — supervision requires an adult’s full attention.
Children’s height and size are being checked: Before admitting children into the inflatable, attendants should be checking that they meet the height and size criteria for the bouncy castle. This is important to prevent injuries or accidents for themselves and others.
The inflatable is not overcrowded: Bouncy castles and slides should not be overcrowded. The manufacturer will determine what the maximum number of users at one time is. This information is often posted on a decal or sign at the entrance to the inflatable device. If it looks like users are constantly knocking into each other, it's likely that the maximum user allowance is being exceeded.
Positioned safely with warning signs visible: The inflatable should be positioned on flat and level ground with warning signs in place and clearly visible. It's important to review bouncy castle instructions with your children before using the device.
Generator is properly placed: If a generator is being used, it should be placed so that exhaust blows away from the inflatable device. Exhaust fumes blowing into bouncy castles could lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide.
If you suspect an inflatable is being operated in a public setting unsafely, please report the incident or hazard through our online form or call 1 866 566 7233. A safety officer will be assigned to the report and will follow up as quickly as possible. By educating yourself on these safety precautions, you can help ensure that inflatables such as slides and bouncy castles are a safe and enjoyable experience for children and families at public events.