Inflatable Safety Becomes Major Concern

Stay SafeWe have discussed inflatable safety at length in this blog. Whether it is concerns about tethering bounce houses, supervising children, inflatable materials or just overall safety measures, inflatable safety is something that many inflatables companies pride themselves on. However, accidents do happen and sometimes children and adults can get injured because of lax restrictions and improper safety controls.

These accidents are rising in number, according to a story from the Today Show’s Rossen Reports. Every day, more than 30 children are admitted to hospitals with injuries from inflatable bounce houses. While a number of these injuries are considered minor, there are some more serious cases that would give any parent pause:

“According to the study, the most common injuries are sprains and fractures, some to the head and neck. Forty-three percent of injuries are caused by falls, most inside the bounce house, with some kids bouncing out of it. Sixteen percent of injuries are caused by other kids: collisions and roughhousing.”

The article says the primary response from inflatable companies to this report is that the accidents occur due to misuse or the failure to enforce safety restrictions suggested by the manufacturers. This may be true, especially when various age groups are involved. Many parents should know that the age group inside of a bounce house should be relatively similar – i.e. don’t put 10-year-olds in a bounce house with anyone under the age of 6. Furthermore, talk to your children about what not to do when on an inflatable:

“As for kids doing flips and acrobatics in bounce houses, doctors say: Don’t do it. Some of the most serious injuries to the head and neck are caused by stunts. They say, talk to your kids before they go in, and set the ground rules. And if kids are getting too rough, get them out.”

Prop Inflatable Used at White House Protest

Pipeline Inflatable at White HouseYou wouldn’t know it, but inflatables have become a very powerful item for groups to have. We know that inflatable advertising and promotion is a great way for businesses to showcase their wares or brand name, but lately, inflatables have become so much more. For instance, we have talked about the inflatable rat being used during protests and the inflatable pig that caused a riot at a soccer game. This next news story is just the latest example of the power of inflatables.

According to a story from Salon.com, environmental protestors used an inflatable to display their disgust with the potential installation of an oil pipeline between Canada and the United States. From the article:

“…nearly 3,000 environmental protesters converged around the White House carrying 500 feet of inflatable pipeline. Obama had delayed deciding on the pipeline extension until after the election, but must now consider whether to approve the TransCanada-owned pipe, which would carry crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands to the Gulf Coast.”

The group, using its 500 feet of inflatable pipeline, rallied against a possible “yes” decision due to potential carbon emissions that may spring from the pipeline. The group, 350.org, has been successful in many of its protests, the article says. Another reason for pipeline opposition, aside from the environmental issues, would be the seizure of personal property from citizens solely in deference to the pipeline:

“Much recent protest to the Keystone pipeline has focused on the construction of its southern leg in Texas. The Tar Sands Blockade group has staged high-profile blockades, with the help of activists, celebrities and local landowners who oppose the seizure of their land under eminent domain for the purposes of the oil pipeline.”

Do you think that this environmental group’s usage of an inflatable pipeline prop made its point to politicians? Would you ever consider using an inflatable in this way? Let us know in the comments!

Company Designing Inflatable Plug for Water Stoppage

Inflatable PlugEveryone on the east coast was affected by Hurricane Sandy, which brought heavy rain and destructive wind to many. No areas were more damaged than New York and New Jersey, each of which took massive hits from a storm surge that was caused by ocean swelling. The flooding in these areas took out homes and in some cases, entire towns. It could be argued that the surge created one of the most surreal scenes – subway tunnels and stations filled completely with water in lower Manhattan.

Keeping this type of scene in mind, a company in Delaware has begun development of an inflatable system that would stop this type of tunnel flooding in the future. According to NewsZap, ILC Dover is looking to create a structural inflatable over the next 5 years:

ILC Dover Director of Engineer­ing Dave Cadogan said the evolving Resilient Tunnel Plug is “ pushing the limits of anything that has ever been built in the way of structural inflatables” and more than 100 com­pany members have worked on it in the past 2 ½ years. The company has teamed with West Virginia Univer­sity researchers and the U.S. Depart­ment of Homeland Security to fine­tune the giant plugs.”

The inflatable plug is protected by a Vectran fiber blanket, which is almost totally impenetrable, the article says. Vectran is comprised of a yarn spun from polymers that makes the blanket five times stronger than steel. Recently, the company tested the new plug:

“This week, the DHS tested the subway tunnel plug in an airplane hangar at WVU. Packed like an air bag, the oblong balloon made of Space Age materials flopped out of the wall of a scale-model approximately 17-foot diameter subway tunnel that WVU engineers developed several years ago, inflating in about two minutes, according to The Associated Press.”

Schools and Inflatable Mascots

Custom inflatables have a number of purposes that you may not have thought of before. The primary usage for inflatables that we see regularly is for entertainment or safety – i.e. bounce houses and air bags, respectively. What you may not think of is the important role that inflatables play in the advertising world, especially if you do not own a business or have anything to promote. One area that inflatables are expanding into is the sports world, where inflatables are becoming a major part of drawing crowd response and participation.

This is the case in Chambersburg, PA, where a local high school spent a big portion of its budget on an inflatable mascot and tunnel. From Public Opinion Online:

“The Trojan stands 26 feet tall in front of a 25-foot tunnel. Its cost was $6,000, CASHS [Chambersburg Area Senior High School] Principal Buddy Chapel said. Student activity accounts are created to serve clubs and programs at school, such as student government, the school store, yearbook or class events, such as the prom.”

The funding is controlled entirely by the students themselves, the article says, so the choice to purchase the two custom inflatable sports items was in the student body’s hands. The principal of the school actually pitched the idea, citing that his last school had a mascot tunnel. The process of building these inflatables took a little while:

“Senior Cooper McGarvey worked with a concept artist from Cogswell Creations Sports Inflatables to determine a design. Cogswell sent a concept drawing to CASHS. Once it was approved, the school had the tunnel custom made.”

This school has taken the steps that many sports teams are now beginning to take. Our sports teams play better when the crowd is active and excited. By adding inflatable elements to their games based on their school’s mascot, there is a new ability to really draw the crowd in when the home team needs it the most.

Pigs – The Inflatable Kind – Incite Rival Fans

Even though most Americans are loathe admitting it – soccer is the most popular sport in the world, consistently breaking attendance records all over the globe. One of the other things that soccer has over other spectator sports is fan intensity. Sure, Lakers fans and Celtics fans despise each other, but rival soccer fans actually want to hurt each other. At least, that’s how it would seem. In the world of football (the other word for ‘soccer’) it’s anyone’s guess how a game is going to end – are we going home or are we brawling?

Inflatable PigSome Brazilian and Argentinean football fans took the initiative to really get rival fans going and they did so in an inflatable fashion. According to news.com.au:

THAT fans got it past security said a lot about South American soccer but an inflatable pig has reignited one of football’s oldest rivalries. At halftime River fans released a huge inflatable pig dressed in Boca colours and floated it provocatively in front of the away fans. The start of the second half was delayed until the offending helium-filled pig was deflated.”

The event where the pig was unveiled – El Superclasico – has been a long time coming for the two teams, the article says. River Plate and Boca Juniors hadn’t played in one for almost a year and a half.  The rivalry, combined with the stakes and the inflatable pig, caused a big ruckus ending with a clash between fans and security guards. The scene was certainly a concern, considering a tragedy that occurred decades ago between the rivals:

“Boca-River games are traditionally passionate but tragedy struck the fixture after a dour 0-0 draw in 1968, when 90,000 people poured into the Monumental and 71 fans were crushed to death in the worst tragedy to hit Argentinian football.”

Luckily, the pig didn’t cause this kind of clash, but you can be sure that Boca fans weren’t very happy!