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Two things that absolutely go together are summer and inflatables. There’s very little disputing this concept; in fact, I can’t think of any awesome parties as a kid where there wasn’t some type of inflatable toy or bounce castle that everyone wanted to play with or on. Taking this idea one step further, almost all of the pool parties that I went to had a number of inflatable items like rafts, inflatable balls and a whole host of other toys. There are safety considerations to take when using inflatables anywhere, especially in water. However, some might say that using inflatables in open water – as opposed to a pool – might be more dangerous.
This is an important distinction to make when visiting the ocean with your family, especially when at a beachfront that allows inflatables. Just recently, a news story pointed out what can happen when the ocean takes control of an inflatable. As reported by Gadling, one boy was actually swept out on an inflatable more than a mile from the coast before being rescued:
“A lifeboat crew saved the boy as he suffered from hypothermia and was about to fall unconscious. If he had, the crew said, he would have slipped out of the floating ring and drowned. The boy had been playing by the seaside and had been carried off by the current into the sea. He had been drifting about 45 minutes when the rescuers found him.”
Apparently, the number of incidents off the coast of the United Kingdom is pretty high every year, with more than 13,000 incidents reported annually. I mentioned some of this trouble a few posts ago, with a warning about using inflatables when strong riptides are in effect. Don’t forget that wind and currents can also pair up to cause drifting out long distances from shore.
Let’s put it this way – if your child is using an inflatable in the ocean, you may want to keep an eye on them, especially if it’s a windy day. You’re not going to want them more than mile from the shore!