This question comes up whenever the local weather forecast is predicting inclement weather. We’ll address the two most common weather concerns when renting an inflatable, rain and wind.
The only time rain is a real problem is when there is lightning and thunder present. Although no harm should come from lightning as the units are grounded, we want to play it safe and recommend that the kids not use the bounce house when there is ligntning and thunder. Otherwise, the decision to use a bounce house in the rain comes down to a matter of comfort. Is it too cold? Is it simply raining too hard? In some cases during warmer weather, a nice rainfall can be refreshing and fun for the kids. However, we want to use caution as the floor of the bounce house can become slippery when wet.
Wind is a significantly bigger threat than rain, or just about anything else in terms of the safety of the participants of a bounce house. The typical bounce house structure is anywhere from 13’x13’12’ to 24’x20’x18′ in size. As you can imagine, and have possibly witnessed on the news, that a structure of this nature will act as a “sail” in windy conditions. The question is, is the “sail” anchored well enough to endure windy conditions without blowing free of its anchors and tumbling across the yard or worse, flying up into the air? There are two major preventions of this horrible calamidy starting with a strict “no 15mph (or above) sustained wind setup” policy. No company should ever setup an inflatable in conditions where the wind is blowing at 15mph or more sustained, period. Also, units that are setup in wide open areas where there are no structures blocking wind gusts can be dangerous. The second prevention measure is to properly secure the inflatable to the ground. It is important that the installer uses 18″ or longer ground anchors at all corners and anchor points on the unit. For a standard square bounce house, there are 4 anchor points, one at each corner. On larger units such as giant slides, there are additional anchor points midway up on the sides in order to prevent sway. Properly securing and anchoring an inflatable in conditions that don’t exceed 15mph sustained winds, will result in a perfectly safe installation with regard to wind.
Additionally, manufactures of inflatables used in the USA are required to meet certain strict standards and have their new designs inspected by a Professional Engineer. The PE will inspect the unit structurally and materially for any risks that may be presented to the user. If the unit passes, certain restictions or limitations may be placed on that unit requiring a notification on the front of that unit. Always take note of any restrictions and rules posted on an inflatable prior to allowing your children to particpate.
In conclusion, bounce houses can be used in inclement weather safely if applying the correct knowledge to the situation. No sustained winds of 15mph or over. No lightning and thunder. Always rent from an established company with proper state and local certifications, insurance and training program for their installers. Always inspect the installation of an inflatable to ensure that all corners are secured properly. And finally, heed any safety warnings and rules posted on the inflatable prior to use. We all want the kids and their parents to have fond memories of their bounce house experience, and with a bit of precaution, every bounce house party can be safe, fun and a great memory for all!