Bouncy castles are inflatable structures that are enjoyed worldwide by a variety of users. Despite being referred to as castles due to their traditional and most widely used design, can come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and uses, from small platform style bouncy castles to large, concept bouncy castles that operate as games arenas for fun style sports such as boxing with oversized gloves, or water slides.
Bouncy castles have been popular ever since their invention by John Scurlock in 1959, who when attempting to invent a new type of waterproof tennis court cover, noticed that his employees enjoyed jumping on the material when inflated. Since then, the concept of inflatable structures that can be used in such a way has boomed, with current day bouncy castle users numbering in millions worldwide.
Bouncy castles hold their strength in their portability, due to their relative low storage capacity, and ease of setting up. Most bouncy castles take up a space of less than half a tennis court, which enables use in gardens, or even inside halls with high ceilings. The standard makeup of a bouncy castle can either be strong PVC, nylon or vinyl. These are then stitched together to provide a sturdy, although not airtight shape, which is then constantly inflated via a petrol powered pump. This results in small punctures not being a problem, which contributes to the overall safety of the bouncy castle.
A variety of safety specifications exist for bouncy castles in the UK. As such, any bouncy castle rental or sales company not abiding to these rules, or any person or organisation providing the use of a bouncy castle is acting illegally. Amongst these includes a necessity for three fully inflated sides to the structure, along with an entirely open front that has foam mats situated in front of it outside of the castle itself. EU regulations introduced in 2006 demand that other standards must also be met relating to the standard of the bouncy castle itself. One way of being sure that a bouncy castle is safe is through PIPA testing. Whilst PIPA accreditation is not legally necessary, it does assure users and owners that the bouncy castle abides by legal guidelines. This is enabled through its testing of the general state of the makeup of the fabric of the castle, the pressure of the castle and the risk potentials relating to the castles use. Along with other regulations, the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) must also be adhered to when operating the bouncy castle.
Bouncy castles can be an enjoyable feature at many events, both public and private. Parties, local public functions and school and church fetes are just some of the events that see regular bouncy castle use. A variety of options are available to any person wishing to obtain a bouncy castle, including renting or buying from a variety of retailers. Bouncy castles can either be free to use, or used for a small charge, depending on who is providing the use of the bouncy castle. No special traders’ license is required in order to charge specifically for a bouncy castles use.