Bouncy castle scare highlights lack of safety regulations
CALGARY- A frightening incident in New York that saw a bouncy castle fly into the air with three children inside has exposed loopholes in safety regulations.
The houses are popular rental items for children’s birthday parties, and news of what happened stateside has sparked concerns in Alberta.
“I see holes in legislation,” says Llyal Grummett, owner of Tubby’s Party Rentals. “I have been saying for a long time, why not be proactive and do something before something happens?”
He says the problem is that structures at public events have to be inspected and companies need operation certificates, but the same rules don’t apply at private events, like birthday parties.
“It’s foolish. If we’re going to have regulations, you are the public, so if we are going to rent you something it should meet a standard—or why have any standards at all?”
Some companies even purchase their inflatables from big box stores that aren’t supposed to be for commercial use, yet are still rented out.
The Municipal Affairs department admits there is no agency in Alberta that regulates backyard rentals.
“It’s not our jurisdiction to go into somebody’s backyard to regulate this type of a device,” says Dean Bruce from the Municipal Affairs Ministry. “Whether they should or shouldn’t, we only enforce what’s written down in the code, and it states private functions are not an area in which we go.
“It’s owner beware.”