Hiring a bouncy castle?
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Bouncy Castle Hire

Bouncy Castle Hire is becoming increasingly popular, whether it's for a children’s birthday party, fundraising events or even a wedding, there will be a bouncy castle to fit the occasion. Follow the guidelines outlined below, select a supplier and book as far in advance as possible.

Locating your bouncy castle

Decide where you are going to locate the bouncy castle before you contact the hire company. The hirer will then help you to select the right bouncy castle depending on the space available and whether it will be located inside or outside:

Outside: A popular location is in the back garden and in most instances a rain cover will be provided. Ensure that there aren’t any overhanging branches etc that will interfere with the site.

Inside: Church halls, Community Centres etc are another popular choice. Make sure that if you are using an inside venue that there is adequate ventilation as the children can get very hot on the bouncy castle.

Whether the bouncy castle is located outside or inside, allow sufficient space around the bouncy castle to place the soft thick mats, with particular emphasis on the area in front of the entrance/exit to the bouncy castle.

Also, make sure the electric blower is located at least 1.2 metres from the bouncy castle.

Choosing the right size of bouncy castle

Again, before you contact the hire company think about how many people you anticipate using the bouncy castle and their respective ages. Children up to the age of 12 can use a bouncy castle. (You can hire a bouncy castle for use by adults, although children and adults should not use the bouncy castle at the same time). The most popular size is 12ft x 12 ft (3.6m x 3.6m). The bouncy castle should be marked as to its limitations of use, i.e. maximum user height, age etc.

Finding the right bouncy castle operator

Responsible operator? / Fully insured? / Accredited?

The inflatable play industry has set up an inspection scheme to ensure that the equipment conforms to an industry standard. This scheme, PIPA is supported by the Health and Safety Executive. It has introduced a very simple, easy to follow scheme:

Every bouncy castle should have a uniquely numbered tag. This means that the bouncy castle has been tested to a recognised standard before its first use and annually thereafter. If you are offered a bouncy castle for hire, request the tag number and check this against the PIPA site at www.pipa.org.uk/findTag.

Public Liability Insurance (PLI)

It is the responsibility of the person hiring the bouncy castle to ensure that all possible steps are taken to avoid injury to users or damage to the bouncy castle.

It is absolutely essential that the company hiring out the bouncy castle holds PLI. YOU should ask your hirer to bring their public liability certificate to the venue.

If you intend to hire a bouncy castle and charge a pay per play system, perhaps for a school fete, it is recommended that you take out your own PLI.

Operating the bouncy castle

Set-Up / Anchorage / Dos & DON’Ts

Set-Up: The hire company should set up the bouncy castle and it will take approximately 30 minutes.

Inflated The bouncy castle material should be soft, flexible, fire resistant and very strong. The structure when inflated should not ‘sag’ under the load (providing you are adhering to the correct usage with regard to numbers etc).

Anchorage: Check that it is correctly anchored. The bigger the bouncy castle, the greater the number of anchorage points required. Warn the children about the tie-down points (if appropriate) and make the area behind the bouncy castle, where the electric blower is situated, out of bounds.

Mats: Use the soft thick mats provided by the hirer, covering particularly the area in front of the exit / entrance to the bouncy castle.

Prohibited items: The following list is not exhaustive. Different operators have different guidelines. The following items are not allowed on a bouncy castle: food, drinks, chewing gum, party poppers, coloured streamers, silly string, footwear, pets, jewellery or any other hard, sharp or dangerous objects that might damage other children or the equipment.

Painted Faces: Some bouncy castle hirers will not allow children with painted faces on their equipment. However hirers will allow children to play on the bouncy castle on the basis that face paints do not usually stain the material provided the marks are cleaned off quite quickly. And certainly for hygiene reasons, the bouncy castle should be cleaned on a regular basis.

A bouncy castle hirer should provide a full list of terms and conditions but it is advisable to check with them about face paints before you make the reservation. If you are considering hiring a face painter, visit our directory of face painters.

Supervision: Supervision and Safety are covered in more detail below, but ensure that the children are supervised at all times on the bouncy castle by a responsible adult. According to PIPA, the vast majority of accidents occur through lack of or bad supervision.

Bouncy castle safety

Follow the guidelines listed above and hire from a responsible operator with PLI, using a bouncy castle that has been registered with PIPA and ensure that the bouncy castle is carefully supervised by a responsible adult.

The responsible adult should pay particular attention to the following:

  • Height of the Bouncy Castle Walls: The walls should be high enough to prevent children from climbing over, either alone or if they are assisting one another. It is quite a drop from the top of a bouncy castle to the ground. The ground surrounding the bouncy castle should be covered with mats but even these cannot prevent a serious accident. If you are concerned, hire a bouncy castle with a covered roof to remove the risk.
  • Weather: Many bouncy castles come with a shower cover already fitted. However do not use the castle if it becomes wet on the jumping area. In the event of heavy rain, remove all the children off the castle and turn off the electric blower. Do not use the bouncy castle in high winds. Even though it should be tightly secured using all the anchorage points, there is a danger that the castle could edge towards the electric blower.
  • Similar Size/Age Users: If there is a range of different ages amongst the children then introduce a rota so that you only have children of a similar age/size on the bouncy castle at the same time. Don’t allow adults on a bouncy castle that is intended for use by children only. Many companies offer toddler ball pools or ball ponds, often as part of the deal as another attraction for the younger children. NB Any additional attractions will need careful supervision
  • Medical Conditions: Many companies will supply a notice advising people not to use the bouncy castle if they have a history of back or neck problems or are pregnant. This can also apply to children i.e. any child who is feeling unwell or taking medication should not use the bouncy castle.
  • Inflate/Deflate: Do not allow anyone on the bouncy castle during inflation or deflation or whilst deflated. Likewise, should the bouncy castle fail for any reason then remove the children immediately. Also, deflate immediately after use to avoid unsupervised play.

The final word comes from PIPA, the industry inspection scheme:

  • Don’t compromise when it comes to children’s safety
  • Hire on the basis of safest – not the cheapest.

Find a bouncy castle operator in your area.

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