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03 April 17 - Safe Bouncy Castle Hire

Here at SJ's Leisure, we love to provide fun, safe and affordable products!

This includes our full range of inflatable and fun products including bouncy castles. Over the last couple of years, we've noticed an influx of non-compliant equipment in the inflatable hire market. To the everyday person, these products may not be noticeable and they may even seem enticing due to the relatively low hire price but they are unsafe for commercial hire in the UK.

A prime example of a non-compliant bouncy castle would be as shown below.

These inflatable 'toys' are available at toy superstores such as Smyths, Toys 'R' Us, Costco etc. They are suitable for private use so are good for people to buy for toddlers for use in their own back garden but they are unsuitable for hire. Your local hire company SHOULD NOT be hiring these products.

As I mentioned above, this may seem trivial to you. A bouncy castle is a bouncy castle, right?!

No is the answer. Bouncy castles hired in the UK should be of a commercial grade and be manufactured to comply with a thorough European and UK standard. The standard is classified as BS EN 14960 : 2013. This standard covers all commercial hire inflatables which are primarily used for bouncing and sliding so this includes bouncy castles, bouncy castle and slide combo's, inflatable slides and a few other inflatable types.

What's wrong with these 'toy' bouncy castles you may be asking? 'Toy' bouncy castles are not designed for the UK hire market, they have not been rigorously designed and tested to meet the BS EN 14960 standard.

The standard covers many aspects of the inflatable design such as;

  • Entrapments - are they any entrapments i.e. an area where a user could get their arm or head stuck?
  • Wall height - are the walls tall enough for the user? Wall heights are specifically calculated to be large enough to stop users from falling out of the inflatable or falling off the inflatable. For example, the external slide in this image is unsafe as the user could fall off the slide and onto the ground below. All external slides on hire inflatables in the UK should have walls big enough to stop the user from falling off the slide. They should also have a cover over the top of the slide to stop users from standing up at the top of the slide platform.

There are many aspects that the standard covers including material types, anchorage etc.

For example, did you know that all inflatables set up outdoors in an open space such as playgrounds, car parks etc should have 163kg of weight per anchor point! The smallest bouncy castle should have six (6) anchor points. This means that inflatables set up in the open on hard standing should have a minimum of 42 bags of sand attached. This is the reason, we as a company do not hire inflatables on hand standing in open areas such as car parks, playgrounds etc.

Back to the inflatables that don't meet the EU / UK standard. If an accident happened on one of these non-compliant inflatables, the hire company would not have valid insurance to cover any accident as the inflatable does not meet the hire standard.

If you are looking to hire a bouncy castle or inflatable, please rest assured that all equipment on meets the EU / UK hire standard BS EN 14960 : 2013 and is safe to be hired.

If you have any questions or queries, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly office team by email or telephone!

Email -

Telephone - 01744 602716.

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