‘Bouncy castle hire near me’ is the most commonly searched term online by customers looking to book a bouncy castle for their event. A close second search is ‘cheap bouncy castle hire near me’. In this blog post, we give insight into what to look for when searching for a suitable bouncy castle hire company other than one being close to you.
Check out the businesses online reviews
Reading other peoples bouncy castle hire experiences is always a great way to establish how a company operates. There is no hiding from ones bad experiences especially with reviews being so accessible. On a positive side of things you can, of course, find highly recommended companies with glowing reviews. Here are our reviews: Last Minute Bouncy Castles Reviews
Check the companies equipment is safe to use?
Inﬂatable equipment used for commercial purposes in the UK should conform to the British Standard BS EN14960:2013. The British standards include:
- Stipulations on the material that the inﬂatable is made from
- How many anchor points it should have and where these should be
Any inﬂatable equipment hired to customers must meet the British Standards. A part of the manufacturing process entails stitching panels of vinyl-covered material together. When the castle has been inflated check the stitching between the panels is in good order. A bouncy castle requires a continuous airflow provided from a blower in order to keep inflated. It is perfectly normal for air to escape through the stitching however if the stitching fails it’ll quickly collapse. This is a result of the air escaping too quickly reducing the pressure inside the castle. This type of inflatable will collapse rather than explode.
Installation requirements and where the castle can be positioned?
The majority of inflatable equipment requires an electrically powered blower, extension lead and plug socket. Something to consider would be how far this will need to reach and possible trip hazards. Not all domestic outlets are suitable for this, which is why you may need to seek electrical advice. It’s best practice for the inflatable hirer to supply any electrical leads required for the booking. Here at Last Minute Bouncy Castles, we have invested in weatherproof extension leads.
Once the equipment has been set up, have a visual check over the cables to make sure they are not defective. Things to check include:
- Electrical tape
- Wires showing
- Broken plugs
- Cables can become a trip hazard making them an additional consideration.
The hire company may need to inspect the location in order, to ascertain where the inflatable can be sited. Here are a couple of things they may be looking for:
- Location of power source
- Ensuring no fire escapes are blocked
- Making sure the surface is suitable
- Checking for obstructions/hazards
An additional safety precaution may be to fence oﬀ around the back and sides of the equipment. This is to prevent children from touching or tripping on things such as:
- Metal anchor stakes / Sandbags
- Extensions and electric plugs
Safety mats (or crash mats) must be placed at the entry and exit points. If the castle is being used on concrete (or similar) or indoors then extra safety matting may be required.
Check the general condition of the castle on the day
Take a look around the castle once inflated, check to see if it look right? Is it clean? Look for tears or worn stitching, and check that its shape looks right. If the shape looks wrong, it may be that some of the internal stitching has come undone.
Check that the castle has the correct-sized power blower. The safety certiﬁcate for the castle and/or castle ID sticker should state the size required. The usual size for small inflatables is a 3/4 hp (750 watts) blower and 1.5 hp for larger units. Some inﬂatables may need two or more blowers.
Anchoring the castle properly
To meet the British Standard, castles must have six anchor points which would have been installed onto the bouncy castles by the manufacturers. All six anchor points must be used to secure the castle properly. Some castles have additional anchor points on the sides. These additional points are used to help keep a castle’s shape intact and also help in avoiding adding additional strain to the ground-level ones.
The stipulated size of ground stakes for grass use is a 16mm diameter metal rod at least 380mm long, resembling a shepherd’s crook (rounded top). Any ropes used to assist anchorage must be in good condition and strong enough for the task. Where ground stakes cannot be used, an equally effective way to anchor the inflatable down must be found (such as sandbags, weights or ground fixings). This should be set out in the operators manual.
If weights or other ballast are being used, then there must be a suitable method of attaching any guy ropes. The point of anchor, in this case, should be at ground level to stop the wind from getting under the inflatable. However, the suitability of using alternative anchoring (other than ground stakes) may be difficult to determine as their ability to withstand the necessary force cannot be easily measured. At the very least each anchor point must be at least 163Kg force on it but is likely to need more to achieve the 1600KN force necessary to keep the inflatable in position.
For indoor use, the inﬂatable will still need to be anchored. The operator’s manual will give guidance on such things as:
- Stopping the castle moving on the floor
- Preventing it from overturning
Checking wind speeds on the day of the booking
The speed to remember is 24 miles per hour (38kph). If the wind speed is 24 miles per hour or above your bouncy castle hire company will more than likely cancel the booking. Most will offer to reschedule subject to availability.
This is the maximum wind speed in which any inﬂatable, no matter how many anchor points it has, can be used. However, an inﬂatable may have a maximum operational wind speed less than this, so you need to check.
A wind meter, often referred to as an anemometer, must be in operation where the inﬂatable is being used. Wind measurements should be taken at frequent intervals to ensure that wind conditions are okay for the continued operation of the inflatable. Using a weather app or weather forecast is not considered accurate enough as these are not based on local readings. Factors such as trees, buildings, hills and wind-alley conditions on-site can inﬂuence this in either direction.
Although weather apps can be used to help predict conditions predictions they may only show ‘average’ wind speeds, so ‘gust’ and maximum speeds need to be accounted for.
Users and supervision
All inﬂatables should be supplied with operational information. This is very important if you have ‘dry hired’ the inflatable (the operator has set it up and then left it for you to supervise). This sheet will contain information about the number of children allowed on it at one time relating to their height (this should also be on a patch stitched on by the manufacturer). Information should also contain advice about the type of behaviour not allowed on the inflatable.
Avoid the following:
- Do not let children climb on castle walls or somersault
- Remove footwear and glasses
- Empty pockets
The castle must be supervised at all times and the supervisor must be over 18 years old.
Throughout the event, someone should continue to check the castle to make sure anchor points haven’t dislodged, that the inﬂation tube between the castle and blower is secure and that any rips or tears haven’t occurred.
Request certificates and other safety documents
You should ask your bouncy castle hire company for the following documentation and certiﬁcations:
- Public liability insurance cover
- Safety certiﬁcate(s) for their equipment
- Risk assessment
- Operator’s manual
Inﬂatables should have regular tests carried out on them to check their integrity every 12 months which can be found online. Certiﬁcates issued this way can be checked online on the PIPA or ADIPS websites, meaning there is less chance of fraudulence. They will also have a PIPA tag or some type of identiﬁcation on them.
You should also read the risk assessment of the inﬂatable as this will help inform you of the factors that need addressing. Any electric blower should have had a PAT test (electrical test) as well.
If you have many inﬂatables at a fair then it may also be advisable to have some kind of ﬁrst aid presence.
Last Minute Bouncy Castles deliver to Hertfordshire and North London.
There may be a few things to consider when booking an inflatable hire company but keeping children safe is always a priority. Bouncy Castles are a great idea to keep children entertained and are suitable in many different environments. Our head office is in Borehamwood, we cover the whole of Hertfordshire and North London seven days a week. You can book in advance or at the very last minute.
Making a booking is simple, you can call us on 0203 9094333 alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org