Bounce House Safety!

brucek

Active Member
So not directly theatre related....except that it all falls under The-public-should-be-able-to-assume-its-safe-to-attend-an-event, and its good to remind ourselves about how much energy is in the wind when working outside, and what do you do when you come across an unsafe setup/situation like this- unsecured bounce house. Back a bunch of years, the bounce house was shut down at my local elementary school fair because the rental place inflated it and left without properly securing it. Safety can make kids sad.
 

120208

Member
I am always amazed that these amusement vendors don't seem to learn from other vendors' deadly errors. Fly-aways are no longer novel incidents- they happen repeatedly worldwide. These happenings fall under the "recognized hazard" column. Anyone in the inflatables business can't claim these incidents are one-offs.
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
This has nothing to do with theater, why mention it ?
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
This has nothing to do with theater, why mention it ?
Go back and re-read the post? It's pretty clear what the intent of the post is.
"Read it again, before pressing Send", right?
It doesn't have to be an Indiana State Fair level catastrophe to learn from. It's just five dead kids.
There's a lot of educational theatrical types in here. There's a lot of parents in the industry in here, and we all see this stuff at school functions. Sometimes we're working these sort of functions and see these janky situations up close.

Your take is bad.
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
I am always amazed that these amusement vendors don't seem to learn from other vendors' deadly errors. Fly-aways are no longer novel incidents- they happen repeatedly worldwide. These happenings fall under the "recognized hazard" column. Anyone in the inflatables business can't claim these incidents are one-offs.
From what I see, there's no regulation and no standards. In my city, you have to fill out a "permit" to use one in a public park and there are terms of use....but nobody comes out to enforce or inspect. The permit is just more passive income for the City.
Most of these outfits are some carny-level individuals doing it as a side hustle operating out of their garage on the weekends- or a party rental company looking to diversify revenue. Nobody actually does a risk asssesment. My other favorite, of course, is the rock climbing towers with the auto-belay: whether the limited number of harnesses actually fit a kid (a hint- they don't) is of little concern to Nicotine McGee as long as he can tighten the straps all the way down.

A highlight for me was a school event at a local park; last day of school carnival thingy, maybe. So my kids are there and it's 3rd grade. One of the bouncers keeps deflating while overloaded with kids (no, there was no real adult supervision from the vendor staff hired to do so). and the fix was to have a bunch of parents scramble to try to lift up the vinyl beast and retrieve the worried tots. Never you mind the suffocation risk. So I watched this twice and walked over to the Honda generator and watched it happen again. Did somebody say "Must be a bogus breaker on that outlet?", so I pulled the cord out and put it into the empty outlet. The fan roars to life, nobody has to panic, no kids at further risk. And no issues the rest of the day. The response was "Wow. You're some kind of wizard huh? How did you know how to fix it????"

I'm probably dating myself a lot here, but in the "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket"/"All Killer No Filler" era of the Warped Tour, they had several bounce items set up and were running water through them to make ad hoc waterslides. Definitely off label use, but for that day I fell in love with the girl at the rock show while we tried to beat the Vegas heat.

So yeah, no regulations and no criticial thinking exists around these things. But they still show up at events.
 

chausman

Chase
Fight Leukemia
Not a regulation, but for anyone interested, there are standards for bounce houses: ASTM F2374. An unfortunate side effect of standards publishers (ASTM, ANSI) is that it's valuable information that's generally heavily debated between experts, and then promptly locked behind a paywall. And unless it's enforced, most people don't seem to care.
 

TheaterEd

Renaissance Man
Fight Leukemia
For me this falls under the category of "things I never thought to question". Oh Well. I guess I'm adding bouncy attractions to the list of things my brain will feel the need to critically think about every time I see in the wild.
 

cbrandt

Well-Known Member
I've always taken a brief look before I put my kids on them. I think I'm going to take more than a brief look in the future, even if they have company attendants...
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Not a regulation, but for anyone interested, there are standards for bounce houses: ASTM F2374. An unfortunate side effect of standards publishers (ASTM, ANSI) is that it's valuable information that's generally heavily debated between experts, and then promptly locked behind a paywall. And unless it's enforced, most people don't seem to care.
Hey at least it's good to know it's out there. Cold comfort in this instance, to be sure.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Here in My Faire City, a few years back, a child was electrocuted at an itinerant carnival when a feeder cable with defective insulation came into contact with "bike rack" barricade, that the child touched. The result was a bit more hand waiving and clutching of pearls than usual, but the outcome was a weak, equine-excrement ride inspection law and increased insurance requirement, both of which are being blamed for the loss of carnival and fair midway rides.

There were already Codes that dealt with the electrical failure that led to the little girl's death, which occurred because neither the State nor municipalities required more than a cursory inspection, if any, to go with whatever minimal permitting was required. The new inspections have brought out just how sketchy many small time rides and attractions become over time - rust and corrosion to structures, UV and rodent damage to wiring, unrecognized wear and tear. Attempting to keep other kids from injury or death would seem to be something we could all agree is a Good Think®. Some see it as intrusive, inconvenient, and an assault on the right to die on a carnival ride... /sarc

Nobody should have to die for a good time to be had... and that's the reason I joined the Event Safety Alliance when Jim Digby was able to put words to his anger and sadness that our industry - that knows how to do things more safely - was complicit by neglect in a number of stunning, life-taking entertainment failures.

Interesting tidbit: the SLV - statistical life value - for a person in the USA is currently about $10m. When asking the question "how many people have to die before somebody does something..." the answer is "how much does it cost to do nothing?" Do the math and find out how much, over how long, it takes for those to intersect, and then tip the balance in favor of "doing something about...."
 

What Rigger?

I'm so fly....I Neverland.
Here in My Faire City, a few years back, a child was electrocuted at an itinerant carnival when a feeder cable with defective insulation came into contact with "bike rack" barricade, that the child touched. The result was a bit more hand waiving and clutching of pearls than usual, but the outcome was a weak, equine-excrement ride inspection law and increased insurance requirement, both of which are being blamed for the loss of carnival and fair midway rides.

There were already Codes that dealt with the electrical failure that led to the little girl's death, which occurred because neither the State nor municipalities required more than a cursory inspection, if any, to go with whatever minimal permitting was required. The new inspections have brought out just how sketchy many small time rides and attractions become over time - rust and corrosion to structures, UV and rodent damage to wiring, unrecognized wear and tear. Attempting to keep other kids from injury or death would seem to be something we could all agree is a Good Think®. Some see it as intrusive, inconvenient, and an assault on the right to die on a carnival ride... /sarc

Nobody should have to die for a good time to be had... and that's the reason I joined the Event Safety Alliance when Jim Digby was able to put words to his anger and sadness that our industry - that knows how to do things more safely - was complicit by neglect in a number of stunning, life-taking entertainment failures.

Interesting tidbit: the SLV - statistical life value - for a person in the USA is currently about $10m. When asking the question "how many people have to die before somebody does something..." the answer is "how much does it cost to do nothing?" Do the math and find out how much, over how long, it takes for those to intersect, and then tip the balance in favor of "doing something about...."
Well put Tim. The ESA is doing really solid work for sure.
 

bobgaggle

Well-Known Member
Been a while since I've seen one of these things. Can't remember if they're even built to accept some kind of anchor... Interesting too because I've never seen an event tent on a fairground that DIDN'T have stakes or water ballast. I guess tent guys KNOW that their tent will blow away and the bounce house guys haven't figured it out yet?
 

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