Some Inflatable News

This week, I have stumbled on three inflatable stories that need to be covered in short tidbits. After all, this is a blog about inflatables and it would be a shame not to get as much information in as possible! Without further adieu, here is your news:

Safety Still Important – With the summer approaching, it’s about time to start reserving inflatables for backyard BBQs and birthday parties. However, you need to make sure that safety is in place, as a story of an accident reminds us. In England’s Daily Mail, a report noted that two young children were hurt when an inflatable slide was blown up from the ground by strong winds. Remember to make sure that your rental company secures the inflatable neatly, safely and tightly to avoid any injuries like this from occurring.

Life Jacket RecordAZ Central is reporting that residents of Glendale, Arizona are attempting to break a world record in the name of boat safety. “Glendale residents Saturday will try to set a world record for the most inflatable life jackets inflated simultaneously…”Ready, Set, Inflate!” events are being held throughout the U.S. and Canada on Saturday. The goal is not only to promote the comfortable and versatile inflatable life jacket, but also to educate the public about life jackets and safe boating in general.”

Balloon Lady – A balloon artist recently crafted a dress made completely from balloons and used it to sell raffle tickets, according to a story from The Bellingham Herald in Ohio: “[After selling the tickets, Isabell Rodau] removed the dress, which took more than 150 balloons and five hours to make, so she could model other fashions – the kind that don’t deflate.” It may not be about the inflatables I usually mention, but this is kind of cool!

Boy Drifts Out to Sea on Inflatable

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!

Carpooling With Inflatables: Not a Good Idea

When I think about inflatables, I am reminded of summertime parties and fun days with friends, jumping up and down in bounce castles, sliding down inflatable slides and floating on inflatable rafts in above ground pools. However, the more and more I write this blog, the more surprised I become at newer inflatable items – like phones, couches, pubs, etc. Having mentioned all of these before in this blog, I also want to remind you of a post that discussed how some movies were using inflatable dolls as extras in the background of scenes that needed large crowds extending out:

According to the article, inflatable dolls only take moments to inflate and can save production costs up to 90% on the cost of extras.  They are also easier in terms of costumes – since the dolls can be moved and inflated anywhere, the costumes are interchangeable or can be kept the same.  They are never in focus, so time is saved for maximum efficiency.”

However, I never thought I’d stumble on a story as strange as this one from Seattle PI:

“During the Wednesday morning commute, a driver was stopped on Northbound Interstate 5 when a State Patrol trooper noticed the driver used the inflatable woman doll wearing a wig and riding shotgun so he could use the carpool lane. The driver “quickly pulled out of the HOV lane” after seeing the trooper, but was stopped near South 320th Street in Federal Way, agency spokeswoman Julie Startup said.”

Honestly, I can safely say that I assume many of us have considered putting a doll next to us in the car. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in regular traffic while the carpool folks are driving right on by. Needless to say, I don’t think that it’s worth the $124 ticket you’ll get, much like that unfortunate driver in Washington.


Track Needs Inflatable Cover

I would argue that one of the most recognizable inflatables outside of inflatable games or bounce houses would be the covering that a number of field houses use across the nation. Anyone who has ever ran track and field or played tennis in the winter knows exactly what I’m talking about. A lot of these indoor field areas have inflatable covers to keep out adverse weather conditions so that certain sports teams can practice in the offseason as well. In a lot of situations, these inflatable domes are a great idea for schools that have long, cold seasons.

However, one school board has actually voted against the idea of installing an inflatable dome over tennis courts in Washington, according to the Peninsula Daily News:

“Allison Hastings, Peninsula Tennis Club president, Johnson and several others supporting the proposal to place the 120-foot by 296-foot structure, known as the “bubble,” on aging Sequim School District tennis courts saw the school board vote 5-0 to burst the proposal after making their plea. Johnson and Hastings complained that there had not been enough dialog between the tennis club and school officials, with such issues as fire safety and a fire sprinkler system coming up only just before a decision was made.”

Even though the dome was a good idea and the money was available for it to be built, the upkeep costs were of concern to the board:

“But School Board members questioned whether the tennis club would pay for utilities associated with heating, lighting and air pressure to keep the dome inflated, which Bentley estimated would cost at least $25,000 a year — and possibly as much as $60,000 — to keep it heated.”

The argument is that the dome would not be heated, so a good chuck of this cost would be removed from this tally, but the school district’s budget shortfall makes it difficult to assume any unexpected financial needs for the dome