Are Bouncy Castles a Good Idea?

BouncyAre you considering having a bouncy castle at your party? Read about the major issues involved to ensure you are able to make an informed decision.

Bouncy Castles and Inflatables can be hired from many different companies.

They will turn up at your event, set up the castle, and then return later in the day to collect it and pack it away again…. but are they a good idea for your children’s party?

There are lots of reasons for and against having a bouncy castle at your party, including things you may not have considered. Lets talk about some of the main issues here.

Pros. for hiring an inflatable:

  • Easy and straightforward to book.
  • No effort required in setting them up, or taking them down, as it is all done for you
  • No mess to clear up afterwards (unless you have a child who makes themselves ill)
  • Kids really enjoy them (although they have a limited interest threshold)

Cons. to hiring an inflatable:

  • You need lots of room to be able to use them.
  • You will be limited to the number of people at any one time on the castle. What are the other guests going to do at this time?
  • If you are at home, then you will be paying for the electricity to power the fan. The size of these fans have to be quite big and powerful when you consider how much air they need to pump into the castle. These costs should be estimated and included when budgeting for your party.
  • Mixed age groups on a castle is a bad idea. Older children may accidentally land on younger ones.
  • Injury is very likely, as a castle can be unpredictable.
  • Can cause lunch or tea to resurface due to the nature of bouncing !!
  • If you are going to use the castle outside, you will need to have a backup plan for when it rains?
  • Adult supervision is required ALL the time. (see below)
  • Can be very dangerous, even when supervised.
  • Children get bored of doing the same thing over and over for long periods of time. You should expect the castle to be interesting for no longer than 30 minutes. Then you will need something new for them to do.
Inflatables should not be used in the rain, and you may not get your deposit back for a same day cancellation. So as well as planning to have a bouncy castle, you should also prepare games and activities just in case, even though they may never be used.

Bouncy Castles In the News

Just recently, here in the UK, bouncy castles have hit the news headlines. In 2005, Sam Harris who is now 13 years old, suffered a broken skull when a 15-year old kicked his head at a party while bouncing on a castle. Unfortunately the teenager was left brain damaged after this incident, and now requires round-the-clock supervision. It was a ‘”tragic” accident, and fortunately one that is very rare, we are told by an industry spokesman.

Now all of this is bad enough, but it is at this point where the story takes another turn for the worse. A high court judge last month, ruled that the couple who hired the castle for their children’s party had not provided enough supervision. All operators are under an obligation to the public to tell them to supervise children at all times. Continuous supervision is absolutely vital where children are involved.

Normally any court action or claims are brought against the operator, and the vast majority of them are insured. However on this occasion the claim was made against the parents of the birthday child, and are likely to exceed £1m.

Final thoughts

So, after all of this you can probably guess that I am not a big fan of bouncy castles. I feel that a children’s birthday, or any event where children are there to celebrate and have fun, should be just that… fun, and any chances of them getting injured or harmed does not have a place in this scenario. Children love to have fun, that is their job and what they live for when they are young, but they also like to be challenged and interacted with. A castle doesn’t allow for this. It is a very static object that doesn’t offer any challenges, or interactivity.

Am I saying that if you hire a bouncy castle then you will get sued… no of course not, and I am sure there are companies that have never had an issue with the hire of a castle, but I feel that you should know what you are potentially letting yourself in for before you make that decision.

Todays Top Tip

I am quite often told that as well as booking my services for their child’s party they are also going to be hiring a bouncy castle. And I always tell them that there will be no time for it to be used. I am able to keep the attention of every single child at a party from the time they walk in the door, to the time they leave. I ensure that they are challenged with fun and interactive activities, as well as an amazing magic show, all the time being entertaining, as would most good children’s entertainers. And I find that my parties make such a big impression on the children, that they talk about them for weeks and months afterwards.

On the few occasions when I have turned up and there is a bouncy castle at a party, I always find that as soon as I get going, everyone wants to join in and the castle is left empty. Children love games that will interest them, and grab their attention. I don’t think a bouncy castle will ever be able to match that for the same length of time, or be talked about for months to come.

You have to ask yourself, will having a bouncy castle at the event make it special for your child and their guests, and stand out from all the other parties?