Bouncy castle danger: the facts
A playground safety expert shares safety regulations and practical tips.
A reader responds to the article "Who’s to blame for dangerous jumping castles?" He shares current safety regulations and also some practical tips for parents who hire inflatable party equipment and those who hire it out themselves:

Dear Editor,

The playground Safety Institute together with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has published safety standards for inflatable Jumping castles and playgrounds and playground equipment. This includes Giant Slides and other inflatable amusement devices.

A technical committee TC 1090 was form in 2009 to address serious injuries and death from the use of inflatables and playground equipment and published safety standards in 2011. The safety standard covers the manufacture, supply and operation of inflatable amusement devices and playground equipment.

The dangers of inflatables can be searched on a website called and click on inflatables. Alternatively they you can visit the Playground Safety Institute website for more information.

The safety standards are used in conjunction with legislation and regulations in litigation. The standards are considered a minimum standard of care in a court of law and non-compliance with the standard will prove negligence and recklessness. Criminal proceedings could be sought and fines or imprisonment could be imposed.

Liability insurers could end up paying millions in settlements, legal fees and medical costs. Liability insurers can repudiate any claims if there is non-compliance with the safety standard and the owner, operator, manufacturer and hirer will have to fit the bill.

Inflatables and playground equipment have a very high risk of serious injury and death and the following stake holders should insure compliance with the safety standard to avoid not only avoiding litigation but serious injury and death to children.

•         Pre-primary and primary school heads, management and owners of independent schools
•         Early childhood development centers
•         Public or Municipal park administrators
•         Party venues including adventure parks
•         Restaurants where inflatables and playground equipment are provided
•         Manufacturers of inflatables and playground equipment
•         Event safety coordinators where this equipment is provided at events or open markets.
•         Liability Insurers
•         Hirers and operators of inflatables and playground equipment
•         Education Department
•         Department of Social Development and registration of childcare facilities
•         Local government authority Environmental  Health Practitioners and Inspectors
Some of the manufacturers of inflatable amusement devices (Jumping castles) have stated that they refuse to follow the safety standards. This will result in many more deaths and serious injury.

The death of Ruan Schlebusch and many other serious injuries would have been prevented if there was compliance with the safety standard.
Yours Sincerely

Myles Wittstock

Playground Safety Institute
Playground Safety and Risk Management
Chairperson for the Technical Committee TC 1090- Safety standards for Playgrounds and Playground Equipment SABS
Chairperson for the Technical Committee TC 1090 - Safety standards for Inflatable Amusement RIdes and Devices SABS
Playground Safety Inspector
Expert Witness in litigation
Playground Accident Investigations
FIrst Aid & Fire Fighter Instructor
Playground Safety Instructor
Fire Safety Engineer
Events Safety Coordinator
Health and Safety Advisor

Website - 

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