Outrage of the Week: Inflatables Too Dangerous For School Fair

Hi Readers!  What happens when childhood, lawsuits and an all-around inability to deal with risk jump up and down and bump into each other? Here’s dzafdbfnbk
the jist of it:

Gordon Tewnion addressed the board recently, requesting the use of five air-filled devices, including a maze and a slide, for a May 26 fun fair at Lester B. Pearson Public School in Ajax. He would also like to use a bouncy castle. “I am pleading with you to allow us to use something new to liven up our event,” said Mr. Tewnion.

The board restricts the use of air-filled devices, following a recommendation from its insurer, which notes they are considered a safety hazard. The board hasn’t allowed the devices since the early 2000s and Janet Edwards, superintendent of education for Ajax, said schools are reminded at the beginning of each school year not to use them. She said the board is concerned the use of inflatables could result in injuries such as concussion, dental damage and fractured limbs.

I totally get that this is an insurance problem. But that doesn’t mean the problem disappears. When insurance dictates what is safe, NOTHING is safe enough. It will sap the life out of every activity, starting with childhood. So let’s start thinking up some ways to turn around this culture, before school fun fairs consist of sitting down in a very low, padded chair and not moving. Perhaps while taking a standardized test. — L

Egads! Doesn't she realize that jumping is inherently DANGEROUS?

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70 Responses to Outrage of the Week: Inflatables Too Dangerous For School Fair

  1. Katrina April 25, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Bounce houses are the most popular fundraisers at our town fair. My first experience with a funhouse was traumatic though. I was asked by another parent to cover for her while she took a quick bathroom break. While I was watching the 4 and 5 year olds having a great time, the house collapsed upon them! I immediately crawled in and pulled them out. I was hysterical, but they were laughing and having a great time. Turns out, all the jumping pulled the bounce house away from the generator, but no one remembered to tell me about this possiblity. But, no harm done and no parents were upset so no problem.

    In order to keep things somewhat sane, we have only 2 rules: Limit the number of kids allowed in at any time. Segregate the kids by age. Except for the inevitable long lines, everyone has a great time and I haven’t heard about any serious injuries

  2. Sky April 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Guess the public elementary school my kid went to last year didn’t get that memo from its insurance company, since it had a fair not only with several inflatables, but a rock climbing wall and some super bouncy contrapction you get strapped into and jump high into the air in using a trampoline.

    My kid’s current private school wouldn’t do this just because it’s too expensive…and they’d be upfront about that. Instead they have Greek games and throw javelins, which probably wouldn’t pass insurance muster either.

  3. Peter Brülls April 25, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    I am not even sure that it entirely the insurers’ fault.

    I find it far more likely, that insurers are required to “pay up” when there is a tool or gadget allowed, even though the thing itself is not unsafe to use or its use more dangerous than normal play.

  4. Mike April 25, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    Ahh, the old fear of lawsuits dodge. “We’d love to but we might get sued.” Sadly they have a point, even the baseless lawsuits of “I did something stupid, it’s your fault pay me” sometimes win.

    Read about one town, closed its winter sledding hill (in use for 100+ years) because ONE child ran into a fence and got hurt. Lawsuit, payout, hill closed. 100+ years of fun gone in an instant, by order of the insurance company. Come to think of it, wasn’t that story reported here?

  5. Elfir April 25, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    That’s stupid, but I’m amazed at the idea of a school fair having even one of those things. I remember them as being things of rich kids birthday parties I was never invited to or the state fair line that was far too long to wait in.

    Why would you need to inflate a maze?

  6. Kate April 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    I’m pretty sure you could skirt around the insurance issue by having the parents sign a waiver if they want their kids to be able to play.

  7. pcj April 25, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    We were at a bounce and play venue on Saturday for a 5 year olds birthday – our 2 year old loved it, even if he was too small to hold his own on the bouncy castle. They simply had everyone sign a waver on the way in, problem solved.

  8. Sky April 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    “That’s stupid, but I’m amazed at the idea of a school fair having even one of those things. I remember them as being things of rich kids birthday parties I was never invited to or the state fair line that was far too long to wait in”

    Not anymore…they’re at middle-class birthday parties now and school fairs. I remember our school fairs were basically all games, booths and booths of simple games, like cake walks and throw a ring over a bottle, and with prizes. And I remember coming home with a plastic bag containing a goldfish. Probably animal cruelty now.

  9. Emiky April 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    My old elementary school brought these babies out at the end of every school year…

  10. Beth April 25, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    I don’t know much about these, but wouldn’t the company providing the inflatable have insurance?

  11. Kimberly April 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    We have a bouncy house at our festival.

    For Field Day the kids wear swimsuits and we have water games including: 2 inflatable giant slippy slides, and 2 inflatable 6 foot high water slides.

    Several years ago we tried regular backyard slip and slide – It just couldn’t stand up to 1/2 our school in one day. (They bought out walmart down the street and still they were all destroyed)

    Our PTO gets a special insurance rider for the day(s) of the fair/field day through the company they rent them from. Parents have to sign a form allowing their children to participate on the slides. For the bouncy house the parents are present (it is an evening event) so no permission slip needed.

    We are forbidden to take the kids on field trips that involve swimming – unless it is to the district owned and maintained pool.

    Even here in Texas most pools don’t open to Memorial Day – (Except the YMCA). So that wouldn’t work anyways. Open water areas pretty much never have lifeguards in Texas. I wouldn’t want to take a bunch of kids to open water not knowing their swimming levels.

    In 4th grade our students take swimming as part of PE. I teach at a school were 80 – 90% of our kids qualify for free/reduced lunch (below poverty line). Many don’t know how to swim before taking swimming in 4th grade.

    My 6 yo niece is a much stronger swimmer than my 9 – 10 yo swimmers. My students are more on the level of my 3 yo nephew. (Family of fish so he is a strong swimmer) So I would NOT be comfortable taking them swimming.

  12. Carrie April 25, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Our school’s insurance vetoed roller skating in PE thing year because it was too dangerous. Instead they did “tumbling” which consisted of log rolling and somersaults on mats.

  13. Carrie April 25, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    @Elfir We have a couple of spring events. One is FunFest, done by the PTA, inside the classrooms. We have cake walks, ring a pops, and other carnival type games.

    Then there is Fun Day, put on by the teachers. That is outside and involves relay races, volleyball, dunk tanks and bounce houses. We typically get the inflatables donated from one of the companies in town that rents them. We put up a sign saying “Thanks to ‘whoever’ for donating this item” and they let us use them for a couple of hours. Free advertising and I would imagine they aren’t in high demand on a Wednesday afternoon. Of course, they aren’t that expensive to rent anyway, for birthday parties. Not compared to “destination parties” that cost $100+ for 6 or 7 kids.

  14. sylvia_rachel April 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    Wow, I hope that doesn’t spread to Toronto 😛 DD’s school (public JK-8) always has two or three of those things at the Fun Fair, which is the SAC’s main fundraiser, and they’re the kids’ favourite thing. (Well, except for that one year when they had a portable climbing wall. But it’s never been back since. The advantage of the bouncy things is that even limiting the number who use it at a time, you can have a LOT more kids in there at once and thus reduce the length of the line-ups.)

  15. Library Diva April 25, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    It seems that around here, many people buy bounce houses to rent them out as sort of a sideline. I get that these are sort of ‘dangerous,’ but that’s why they’re so much fun, too.

  16. SKL April 25, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    When I was a kid, we had no playground. Just a blacktop that served as the church parking lot on Sundays. I suppose that was the safest option since all play equipment is dangerous. PS, kids still managed to fall down and go boom.

  17. Lollipoplover April 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Perhaps instead of letting kids be kids and have fun jumping in what I consider a very safe option, maybe the school board can just host fundraisers at local fast food restaurants (ones without the play area- don’t want any danger). Then they can raise all the funds they will need for the school’s obesity clinic.

  18. Clark Sprague April 25, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    It is not so much the insurance industry. It is a change in the way we a society view risk. Kids that were injured just went home. People took responsibility for their own actions. Only if some was truly serious did the lawsuits come out. Now they come out for scraped knees. People see big bucks, lawyers see fees. As a society we become poorer.

  19. Wannabe FRP April 25, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    I know this is off topic but I was wondering whether anyone here knows whether Auckland is as crazy as the UK, Australia, and the US or if it is more free ranged? Thanks

  20. Stevie Taylor April 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Although my kids do enjoy inflatables on occasion I actually find them to be limiting in terms of providing a fun-filled activity for kids. Basically the school/person/entity pays for something big to entertain the children and then the adults stand by and supervise. It doesn’t really “engage” the kids.
    We have events at our farm and birthday parties here for the kids and play old fashioned fun games like sack races, egg and spoon races, rolling donuts with their noses, freeze dance, Marco Polo with a blind folded kid carrying a water squirter, etc, etc. The kids have an absolute blast, it is cheaper than renting inflatables, and only takes the same amount of people to supervise as the inflatables do. So, if I were in Ajax I’d thumb my nose at the insurance company, nix the inflatables, and go “old school”!

  21. Dolly April 26, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    I let my kids do the bouncy house things. They are 3. My one son loves the giant slides and will slowly climb up them and fearlessly slide down them over and over. Sure they can cause injuries but I take the risk because otherwise they are going to miss out on a lot of fun.

    I heard about some blowing away recently with kids inside them. That is kinda scary but other than that the worst I heard about was the one time some adults bounced a little kid off one and he landed on his head and died.

    All the bouncy places around here make you sign a wavier before you can enter. I am doing my 3 year olds 4th birthday party at Pump It Up next month and every guest has to sign a wavier.

  22. Dolly April 26, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    Wanted to add that two local elementary schools around here had blow up things at their fairs. So they must be allowed in our county. They were a hit!

  23. Marie April 26, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    My kids love those inflatables, but I’ve never bothered with one for a party, and my kids’ parties usually rate high on their friends’ “fun party” comments after. Getting a bunch of younger kids together and sending them out into the backyard to play works well for a long time, although I suspect I may have to start planning more things for my oldest’s parties in the next few years.

    Only school carnival I’ve been to without inflatables was last year at our current school, and it was the most boring carnival I’ve ever been to. Would have helped if they had planned more activities than a cake walk. It was that and a few booths to look at and a bit of food. If the school doesn’t do inflatables, they really need to do something else to make things fun for everyone.

  24. Brooks April 26, 2011 at 4:04 am #

    Gee, why don’t they ban driving to school? Driving is dangerous and people get killed.

  25. gina April 26, 2011 at 4:40 am #

    One of my professors in college (Recreation Professions/Commercial Recreation & Tourism major) is a world renowned safety expert in recreation (specifically amusement/theme parks, outdoor recreation, and amusements). Statistically speaking bounce houses/structures are high risk “amusements”. Since they are mobile items, the units rarely inspected on a regular basis, the staff is not always trained in safety measures, and staff does not always follow manufacturer guidelines for safe set up and use. I have seen first hand some serious safety violations in recent months (most likely because of my educational background I know specifically what to look for).

    That said, my professor in my recreation law & safety class predicted that liability insurance companies would start refusing to cover entities that decided to rent these items for their events. (And it seems that has been happening…) A few companies out for a quick buck hiring young employees and failing to properly train and supervise has caused the insurance industry to respond and kids to lose out on a fun activity.

    The policy from the owner of the bounce house/structures only covers a limited amount of liability. The venue hosting the event would have to have their own liability policy.

    That said, there are several reputable vendors. My son’s former school PTO hired the company each year (school’s liability carrier has a list of approved vendors that can be chosen from). The young adult operators are trained, they test the equipment upon set up and monitor as it is used. They ensure the weight and # of occupants don’t exceed the manufacturer’s limits at any time during the event.

    While I won’t let my son on just any old bounce house (especially if the operator is more interested in the teens with the short shorts than the rough play or safety of the children involved, it’s not an all or nothing ban in our house.

    Besides if the whole concept was so unsafe how would “Bounce U.” be such a successful entertainment business entity?

  26. Dolly April 26, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    Gina: Very nice and educational comment. Thanks. Can you give us any tips on what to look for as far as being able to tell if it is not set up right and maybe we should not let our kids on it? I try not to worry about them but if they is something obvious to watch out for I will. Thanks.

  27. tommynomad April 26, 2011 at 5:54 am #

    @Wannabe FRP,

    We’ve lived in Auckland for 4 years. The playgrounds here are awesome. Lots of stuff for kids to hang from, jump on, fall from, and generally have a great time. Many of them have Flying Foxes (aka Zip Lines). There are great playgrounds at Pt. Chev, Mt. Albert (where they closed the 3-storey climbing rocket because a kid fell off, but OK: it was 3 storeys), and Gribblehurst Park (Flying Fox!).

    I think the parents of the Ajax school should give all the kids pointed sticks and let them go mad for a couple of hours. Then they can tell the tightassed non-parents (because that’s what such people are doing: abdicating their parenting responsibilities) who allow such fun-killing regulations that “there’s no rule against that.”

    As a parent, I would never allow an insurance company to tell me what my kids can or cannot do, and the parents of this district should do the same.

  28. tommynomad April 26, 2011 at 5:56 am #

    I’d like to add that our neighbours have 7 playground-addicted kids. Almost every single one of them had broken a bone by age 4. All of them are not only fine, but strong, athletic, independent, creative-playing kids.

    Kids should break.

  29. Dolly April 26, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    Was looking up inflatable safety online and found this great site. http://www.inflatablesafetyexpert.com/combos.html

    He gives some good tips. He stands by that some are very safe and okay to use and some not so much. I found it helpful.

  30. Catspaw April 26, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    @Wannabe FRP I’m not in Auckland but am guessing here would be much the same, pockets of us, pockets of helicopters, watch things like library policies (I can leave my 8 and 10yr old alone at the pool, but not at the library….). Oh and you will get comments, especially from some older folk, who you can guarantee would’ve free ranged their kids. We are noticing more paranoia starting to creep in from councils, security guards, etc.
    But generally, free range them and they’ll find the other free range kids 🙂

  31. PTAmom April 26, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    I’m the planner for our school’s fun night and while the expense of a inflatable may still seem high (it’s $100 here), I’m adding one to the roster this year along with the traditional sack races, dessert walk, face painting and our school has done a dunk tank for the 5th graders for many years. I wanted to avoid small prizes that the kids carry around, I think that the inflatable allows us to add an event without much set-up on my part (finding volunteers is always an issue) and I come up with 15-20 ideas each year then let the students vote and it was one of the top 10. So, no-it’s not just for the rich birthday parties anymore and I think that prices have come way down. One thing to keep in mind from people who are asking why not just stick with traditional games is that in many cases school sizes have grown larger-it makes sense to add more games to handle the larger influx of kids without having huge lines that make everyone miserable.

  32. Mdema009 April 26, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    I would like to suggest that while taking the standardized test, all children must use blunted crayons, because pencils are pointy and dangerous. Also, all the crayons should be the same color and everyone will score in the 100th percentile to avoid damage to anyone’s self esteem.

  33. Donna April 26, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    “The kids have an absolute blast, it is cheaper than renting inflatables, and only takes the same amount of people to supervise as the inflatables do. So, if I were in Ajax I’d thumb my nose at the insurance company, nix the inflatables, and go “old school”!”

    Yes, old school things are fun at birthday parties when you are entertaining 20 or so kids all about the same age. They are not so much fun when you are entertaining an entire elementary school (plus siblings and anyone else who shows up) ranging in age from 5 to 12. It involves a lot more organizing, planning and line waiting. And it would also require a HUGE amount more volunteers. A jump house is one or two people supervising. Planning, organizing and pulling off 3 leg races for 500 kids would be a major undertaking.

  34. Leanne April 26, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    I am not American and this kind of thing does not happen where I live. I understand the insurance company’s advise but as a parent, if I give my child permission to go on a bouncy castle and she gets hurt, how is that the school’s fault? Could the school not get parents to sign an indemnity?

  35. Jane April 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    My then 6 year old broke her arm on a jumping castle, that said she also split her head open playing in our backyard ( unsupervised! I know- I’m a neglectful mum!), kids are meant to break occasionally, it’s all part of being a kid! BTW, she loved being a star at school with the cast and it hasn’t stopped her skateboarding down hills, surfing in 6ft waves, climbing trees or hanging off branches!

  36. gwallan April 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    The board restricts the use of air-filled devices, following a recommendation from its insurer, which notes they are considered a safety hazard.

    Safety hazard for whom? The participants or the insurer?

  37. Jeanne April 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    @Mike…. do you live in Pittsburgh? We have a great hill that, unfortunately feeds into a wooded area. People have been using

  38. Wannabe FRP April 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    @tommynomad, thanks for letting me know =)

  39. Shavonne April 26, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    I’m i charge of renting an inflatable water slide and inflatable slip N’ Slide for our elementary school’s end of school luau. The company you rent the inflatables from provides all the insurance needed in the state of Florida. If someone gets hurt on one, the school doesn’t have to worry about a thing, and all the kids have to sign wavers for their children to participate. (They don’t have to sign wavers at our carnival that always has at least 2 jumpy houses)

  40. Cheryl W April 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Well, maybe we had our Social before the memo came out last summer, but we had one at our school. Parents were there, kids were divided into two lines, older and younger, and went in alternating groups. There were no injuries.

    Our past and most royally fun neighborhood had a neighborhood bouncy house, donated by a former resident who operated a business renting them. It stayed at one house and neighbors could borrow for birthdays, holiday get togethers and such. No one ever got hurt as far as I know, and the most serious thing to happen was when my 3 year old son unplugged the house with kids inside, causing it to collapse on the kids for about 30 seconds or so. Everyone was fine.

  41. StephenV April 26, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    I actually own a bounce house company, i find this silly. With anything comes risks, as long as you follow the rules and the owner of the company does his job, then their should be know problems. The only time people get hurt is when the parents are not paying attention.

  42. Frances April 27, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    I’m neither for nor against bouncy houses but I’m really not convinced they’re necessary for either birthday parties or school fairs. There’s a ton of fun stuff to do, though it might require more imagination…but isn’t that what free-range is about?

  43. Adriana April 27, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    My son did lose a tooth in a bouncy house once. It was a loose tooth. He was inside, came over to the side to wave to us and somehow his tooth got caught in the netting and was yanked out. Tooth never found.
    That said, we didn’t sue anyone and he is still fond of and allowed to go in bouncy houses.

  44. Taradlion April 27, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    @ Adriana – you could have sued for lost tooth fairy income (and emotional distress of your child when he couldn’t find his lost tooth)…

  45. Lori April 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    I have no problem with bounce houses, as long as the number of kids allowed in at a time is supervised. My kids love them. I can’t figure out why they have a problem with all inflatables. We were recently at my husband’s company picnic and they had about 6 different kinds of inflatable things — obstacle course, slides and even a water slide. A bounce house might be risky (in their eyes), but one of the other options are totally harmless b/c the kids use them one or two at a time. I’m certainly not a lawyer, but I’d hope just providing some kind of waiver parents could sign would solve the problem. A little bit of paperwork, but worth the hassle if the kids have a great time.

  46. Jennefer April 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    I agree.

    I just got reported for child neglect. See my story here: http://threesonsandaprincess.blogspot.com/2011/04/six-year-olds-should-be-able-to-play-in.html

  47. Dolly April 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    That is what that article about bounce house safety I linked to talked about. They claim netting on bounce houses are not good for multiple reasons. They actually listed teeth getting caught in them. Luckily your son was losing that tooth anyway! Another reason is netting is not weight supporting so it is better to have inflatable walls because otherwise the house might collapse on the kids if the kids start jumping into the netting. Not something I knew or would have thought about.

  48. Amy - Parenting Gone Mad April 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Inflatable jumping castles are a very popular form of entertainment for the kids at big parties/events. I myself have hired it several times for my backyard when hosting a particularly large party.

    The problem is not the inflatable itself, but the lack of supervision. We have time slots specifically for different age groups. Sound ridiculous, I know but the range is simply too huge. This way, children of similar ages play together and don’t hurt the little ones and it also means less of them on the inflatable at one time.

    We just have to smart about it. Don’t blame it on the equipment.

  49. Maria Noel April 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    In my country inflatable castles are included in almost every birthday party. Usually parties take place in establishments that sell the party services including a wide range of jumping castles, jumping trampolins, climbing walls etc etc etc.
    That means that if my daughter is invited to a party she will most likely have access to all of those “dangerous” and fun games!
    After years of playing with no incidents she broke her arm last year in a jumping castle… We still do not understand how it happened, nobody fell on her, she did not fall out of the castle… She just jumped, fell wrong and broke her arm quite badly.
    It took eight weeks in a cast to heal and one more month being careful, so she would not be in a situation where she could fall again and re-break it (like riding a bike or skating.)
    Have we stopped her from going to parties? Of course not!! You can get hurt in a thousand ways in places other than jumping castles. We just ask her to be careful, thats all. And of course we did not sue anybody… But that is probably because there is not a “culture of lawsuits” here 🙂

  50. Dolly April 27, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    Maria: I had a very similar accident happen to me. I was about 11. I was jumping on a trampoline at a friend’s house. I did not fall off the trampoline or have someone land on me or anything either. I was doublebounced by her overweight brother and I went up so high that I was kinda flailing. When I came down I landed with my elbow under me and dislocated my shoulder. So yeah, odd way to injure yourself since nothing particularly dangerous happened to me. Something similar must have happened to your daughter.

    I agree that inflatables are fine as long as some safety rules are followed. I let my kids on them and just use my judgement.

  51. PamalaW April 27, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    OT but I couldn’t find how to share something with you otherwise.. a local tv station just shared this on facebook this morning and I think it’s over the top stupid… I’m all for safety… but this is worse than the child locator crap on cell phones…


  52. Uly April 28, 2011 at 1:48 am #

    Oddly, Pamela, if I had to choose between a cell phone GPS locator and a device that lets me know if my teenager, in my car, with insurance I paid for, is driving over the speed limit, I’d go with the car one.

    Because car accidents are the leading cause of death for all Americans, etc. etc. etc. and also because cars are really expensive.

    Also, because if my kid were prone to running away, I hope he or she’d be smart enough to ditch the phone first thing. I mean, seriously.

    Not that I particularly would want either one of those things anyway. You can’t drive in NYC until you’re 18 anyway.

  53. Rachel April 28, 2011 at 2:14 am #

    Sure those things are dangerous – if you ignore the instructions. If everyone in it is a similar size and weight, if you don’t overload it, if you DO tether it to the ground and if you have a professional monitoring the really big ones, then they are plenty safe. this sounds like a cop out.

    In a similar vein, someone just sent me this link for a chemistry set that uses no chemicals. http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-Electronics-Inc-EDU-7075-Chem/dp/B002MR05HM
    And we expect these kids to grow-up and discover a cure for cancer?

  54. Dolly April 28, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    As far as the car thing goes I would possibly use one AFTER my child already broke my trust with the car. For example, if they get a speeding ticket. The only way I would allow them to drive again if I could monitor them such as with a device like this. Most likely I would just not let them drive anymore but if for some reason them not driving was something we could not deal with or would cause us a hardship than I could feel safer knowing that they are now being monitored and they know they are being monitored and if they mess up again its vamos to driving.

  55. Krista April 28, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    When I was about 3 or 4 I actually almost died in a bounce house at an arcade/play place. I had fallen down between the bouncing surface and the wall and was suffocating. My older sister was trying to pull me out which alerted my dad and he got me out.

    We didn’t talk to anybody about it, there was no suing involved, and we actually went back there to play again. My dad told me to be more careful and to stay away from the edges and I did. So, what changed between then and now?

  56. suzanne April 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    um, yeah… life is dangerous. people slip in the tub and get hurt, fall down the stairs, trip over the dog… you cant protect yourself or your kid from everything. geez. lighten up and have some fun.

  57. Adriana April 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    @taradlion lol… we wrote a note to the tooth fairy about his lost tooth. She left him $5 instead of his usual $1. 😉

  58. Dael April 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    @ Wannabe FRP – I lived in Auckland when my 12 year old was younger (now in Wellington) and agree with Catspaw that you do get a mixture of FR, helicopter etc. But not as bad as it sounds in US and UK, I think one big difference is that there doesn’t seem to be the same fear of other parents reporting you for neglect – my two (age 9 and 12) often stay in the car, or home alone, rather than coming into a shop with me. They also walk to and from school or go down to the park to play soccer etc on their own. Plenty of other parents around here who buy into the fear and don’t let their children out of sight, so it is getting worse.

    Devonport has a great park – awesome climbing/slide structure:)

  59. Cathy April 29, 2011 at 5:56 am #

    Just yesterday, I proudly signed my daughter’s permission slip to play on the bouncers her middle school is bringing in to celebrate all the students who had good attitudes during the annual achievement tests. Thank goodness her school has yet to cave in to all the hysteria!

  60. EricS April 30, 2011 at 5:32 am #

    Again…not about the children. It’s all about the adults and what THEY want. Or rather what they DON’T want. Such as a lawsuit, or the insurance company to pay off a lawsuit. Bunch of whiney little babies. Sometimes I wonder who the kids are. lol

  61. Kiwimum May 1, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    Big thing about New Zealand generally (not just Auckland) as opposed to esp US is that in NZ we cannot sue for personal injury, under the ‘no-fault’ tax-funded Accident Compensation system. I agree that parents here vary, some v helicopter, some not, but you don’t get the same kind of institutional paranoia and ‘need to blame’ driven by insurance issues that is often described on this blog. Something to consider for those who blame ‘nanny-state’ for helicoptering? Maybe the ‘nannying’ is actually driven by private enterprise (insurance)? Here in NZ we made what many in US might see as ‘socialist’ choices in our systems/legislation about health, accidents etc, but in my view the result is more free-ranging.

  62. Kiwimum May 1, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    BTW @ tommynomad – you must live nearby, those are our local parks! 🙂 Actually my kids think Rocket Park intolerably dumbed down since they took down the big structures. They’d rather rampage up on Mt Albert/Owairaka where people have put up some informal rope swings in the trees.

  63. Tuppence May 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    Excellent points re. “nanny state”, Kiwimum.

  64. msjess May 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Man inflatables have gotten so much cooler since I was a kid. I used to work near an inflatable rental store and they had a number of awesome stuff. And just yesterday I attended a brunch at the beach. Nearby there was this awesome twenty foot inflatable water slide. My friend’s six year old son was begging to go and since his mother didn’t have any cash on her the rest of us ponied up they money so he could go. We let him go and give the money to the opperator and ride it by himself, no handholding for him! He told me the slide was awesome

  65. sexy photos May 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    This is a good idea! hope to be better!

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    —- (*)/ (*)

  66. JLM May 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    During the some the preschool i worked at rented a bounce house for the day. Well that day was overcast and a steady drizzle was falling. We took the kids out in it anyways the inside was wet and the kids were sliding all over the place (about 10 3 and 4 year olds) it was the best time i ever had in a bounce house and it was nice and cool inside and not a million degrees like its always been in the past it summer time in south florida. Nobody got seriously injured i think one kid slipped while climbing out but we just laughed at him cleaned him up and he went right back bouncing…

  67. sherri May 10, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    I just finished listening to a woman go on and on about how some people were allowing their children to use real hockey sticks for floor hockey. She said that the real hockey sticks were dangerous because the kids were able to hit the ball harder with those sticks as opposed to the plastic floor hockey sticks. Because of this her son got hit by a ball and had a bruise. She wants the sticks banned from floor hockey. I know it’s off topic, but really, why do people sit around over analyzing everything.

  68. H. O May 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    Hi Lenore!

    I shared this article on my Facebook page because our old church fell for this sort of mentality and I wanted to let my friends read a different perspective from the fear factor they’ve been given. I ended up getting a comment that has left me rather dazed. Given the underreported nature of molestations I’m wondering if it is possible to know what the chances are of a child being molested in a church nursery. I don’t agree with the philosophy behind a nursery but I certainly am not afraid of someone molesting my child while in there either. Do you have any data on this? I am terrible at stats. Thanks!

  69. Jumping Castles Sydney October 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    Inflatables are really fun to kids, still parents or guardian should always be watchful to their kids while playing because anytime (not asking for it) it sometimes lead to hurt or accident.


  1. May 10 roundup - May 10, 2011

    […] Canada: “Inflatables too dangerous for school fair” [Free-Range Kids] […]