Inflatable amusements like bounce houses and slides can provide a lot of fun. But they can also lead to injuries when they are not properly set up or properly supervised. These activities tend to draw a large number of people, often those that are not members of your church, school or organization so it’s vitally important to exercise proper care and procedures. Following is just a brief summary of things you need to know and some important safety measures. Our agency can provide more detailed safety information regarding inflatables so please don’t hesitate to ask.
It’s The Law:
You should be aware that operators of “continuous air-flow inflatables” in Texas fall under the Amusement Ride Safety Inspection and Insurance Act, regulated and administered by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) and as of September 1, 2011 operators of Class B continuous air-flow inflatables must meet the following guidelines.
- Proof of Insurance Required: The owner of the equipment must file with the TDI an insurance policy showing liability limits of not less than $1 million per occurrence. The amusement ride owner/operator is required to provide a photocopy of this required insurance policy ( or Certificate of Insurance) to you but if not, you should always request a copy.
- Look for The Sticker: The owner of equipment must have an annual amusement ride safety inspection certificate. Amusements meeting the requirements will be issued a TDI Amusement Ride Compliance Sticker which will indicate compliance and the expiration date of the inspection certificate. The sticker should be affixed to a major component of each ride and in a visible location. If your organization owns an inflatable and have not had it inspected, by law you are supposed to. You can call the Texas Department of Insurance at 512-322-3435 and ask for the Amusement Ride division to schedule an inspection.
Note: If your organization owns an inflatable bounce house/slide, etc., you fall under the same liability and inspection requirements. If you do not have yours inspected, you need to. If needed, we can help guide you on getting that done.
Safety Precautions To Ensure You Have A Safe and Fun Experience:
- Rent from a reputable, insured business. Require a certificate of general liability insurance, and ideally, have your church or organization named as an additional insured on the rental company’s insurance.
- Installation and tear down should always be completed by the rental company
- Inflatables aren’t babysitters so adult supervision is required at all times. All those overseeing the amusement need to be aware of the proper ages, weight and occupancy limits of their particular amusement. The adult (not teenagers) volunteers or staff need not be distracted and should be focused or what is happening inside the bounce house, not outside.
- Only participants of compatible ages and sizes should play in the unit at the same time.
- When using inflatables outdoors, the blower motor should be plugged into an electrical outlet that is ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected. If a GFCI outlet is not available, a GFCI extension cord may be utilized. Extension cord should be rated for outdoor use and of the correct size (gauge) for the equipment operated.
- If outdoors, monitor weather forecasts closely. Do not operate if wet conditions ( rain) are present or if threatening weather is approaching and do not use if wind speeds exceed the manufacturer’s recommendation. This is typically in the 15 to 25 mph range.
- Contact your insurance agent to discuss your ministry’s liability exposure and coverage when you use inflatables. While you’re doing that, verify your coverage if your event includes animals or any type of mechanical rides – some policies may have a coverage exclusion.