Inflatable Pool Safety

I remember the last few months of school every year, especially at a young age, that I would seek out the classmates who had pools at their houses. Then, I would befriend these kids in hopes that I would get invites over to hang out in their pools over the ridiculously hot summer months. Slowly over the years, the availability of pools has become a little higher, especially with the ease of inflatable pools that can easily be set up in your backyard. They are just as fun as permanent pools, but at a cost that won’t break the bank.

But, as with any inflatable products, there are safety concerns that need to be understood before you can properly enjoy the cooling relief of these pools. An article from WREX reports that a new study has been released with some facts about portable pools:

“According to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, more than 200 children have drowned in the popular backyard pools between the years of 2001 and 2009. Most of the kids were under the age of 5 and most drowned in their own backyard.

‘Parents that understand the hazards of an in-ground pool may not appreciate that the same hazards exist for a portable pool,” said Dr. Gary Smith of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.’”

The major key to safety with inflatable portable pools is supervision by adults. Here are a few more safety tips about inflatable pools:

–          Drain the pool completely when not in use and turn over to make sure no water remains inside.

–          Consider installing a pool alarm on gates surrounding the pool so you’ll be alerted if someone is trying to get into the area.

–          Fence in the area around your pool so that it’s not too easy to access the area. You don’t want young children falling in accidentally.

–          Make sure any ladders leading into the pool are removable and can be stored in a safe, secure area.




Regulators Aim at Inflatables

Is there anything more wonderful than a summer party? You’ve got your BBQ chicken, hot dogs, water balloons and the piece de resistance, a bounce house. I know that when I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to get into the first moonwalk of the summer – with the jumping around and bouncing off the walls, it was a serious blast. Lately, there has been a cloud cast over inflatables for a number of reasons, primarily due to the number of accidents that have been occurring across the country.

An article from The Salt Lake Tribune lists four of the most concerning incidents:

• A 5-year-old girl was injured in Jacksonville, Fla., in January 2010 after an inflatable blew into a pond while she was in it.

• In June 2010, a Pennsylvania man was killed after an inflatable slide collapsed and pinned him at a Cleveland Indians game.

• In March 2010, a 5-year-old boy in Wichita, Kan., died after he fell from the top of an inflatable slide onto concrete.

• That same month, three children were seriously injured in El Paso, Texas, when an inflatable was thrown hundreds of feet into the air with them inside.

The primary reason for these accidents – cited by the article – is the overall lack of proper installation and supervision by inflatable rental companies. In the majority of states across the country, regulation doesn’t exist and where it does, it isn’t enough. One business owner quoted in the article talks about the serious lack of involvement from most companies:

“Rory Maclennan, who owns Jumptown Inflatables …said the New York accident likely happened because the inflatables were not set up properly. Most companies rent inflatables to private individuals, but set them up before leaving the renters in charge with an instruction manual. ‘The setup is the most important, and the anchoring is the biggest concern,’ he said.”

As accidents continue to occur at the hands of poorly instructed renters, there are some tips for you to follow to ensure that you and/or your children do not get hurt on inflatables:

  • Operator should be with the unit at all times.
  • Do not allow children 3 years and younger inside.
  • Organize users of the inflatable by size.
  • Don’t exceed maximum capacity.
  • Perform frequent safety checks.


I Feel Like Camping…On Mars!!!

I know the title of this blog entry seems like the name of a science fiction B-movie about killer bees or a creature from the Black Lagoon. Of course I embellished the exposition a little bit, but this is nonetheless an actual possibility for the future. The ability to camp out on Mars may actually be possible in the near future due to major leaps and bounds in inflatable technology.

According to a recent article in DVICE, some engineers from the State University in North Carolina have developed a gigantic inflatable tent like structure for camping in space:

“Try pitching a tent on Mars and setting up a Sabatier reactor for producing water, fuel and oxygen to survive Mars’ CO2 landscape. With a little bit of luck, a team of engineers at North Carolina State University plan to pitch their new lightweight 1,900-square-foot tent-like structure to the NASA-sponsored RASCAL competition next week. The collapsible structure is made from Demron, a material that is protective against radiation and heat.”

But what about possible meteors flying towards Mars’ surface? Well these engineers have thought of everything. When the Demron is inflated, its dome shape is apparently able to repel meteorites, the article says. There is a small hitch in the plan though:

“The hardest part for the entire plan is of course, figuring out how to make that Sabatier reactor lighter than the heavy one aboard the ISS. The smart peeps at the NCSU think they know how; by using a “nickel nanoparticle coated fiber material” they believe they can drastically reduce the reactor’s weight.”

Nonetheless, the possibilities with a project such as this are wide ranging and quite exciting for those who want to explore the reaches of space. Just think, one day we may be jumping on bounce houses inside an inflatable dome on Mars. Whoa – I just blew my own mind.

No Inflatable Laws in Arizona

In the world of inflatables, the major concern right now is the recent incidents involving childrens’ injuries whilst playing in inflatable jumping castles. Arguably, the summer is the most popular time of year for inflatables and at least one of the parties you’re invited to will probably have a bounce castle or two. While these rides are a lot of fun, if they are not properly inspected and installed correctly, people can get hurt, even if they are not on the inflatable itself. Now while I have covered these safety issues before in this blog, a surprising story out of Arizona calls for more attention to inflatable safety.

Most states require some sort of licensing and safety training laws to be enforced on inflatables companies, but according to the Arizona Daily Star, The Grand Canyon State has no laws or regulations for inflatables businesses:

“Anyone can apply for a business license to rent jumping castles out of their homes for delivery or to open up a retail business renting inflatables, without special training or safety requirements, according to city officials. All that is required is to specify whether the applicant will be delivering the inflatables from home or renting them out of a storefront.”

The aforementioned injuries actually took place in Arizona, in two different areas entirely. According to the story, two children in Tucson and two in Marina were involved in serious accidents where inflatables lifted off the ground. The lack of regulations has many people concerned, especially when the renters are left to secure the inflatables themselves. Thankfully, there are some responsible companies renting inflatables in Arizona:

“At least one business in the Tucson area allows customers to get the inflatables at a pickup site and do the installation themselves, leaving it up to the renters to secure them. Employees from Jumps & More would not comment on the requirements involved when a client picks up the inflatable, or on the training, if any, given to the client. Most retailers with inflatable jumping castles require that only employees install and take them down.”

Before you pick up a custom inflatable or rental inflatable slide for your next party, make sure that you know the proper installation technique and safety rules during operation. You don’t want anyone to get hurt on your watch.