Inflatable Safety: What to look for when buying commercial inflatable products.

Inflatable obstacle courses, trampolines, and other products are becoming increasingly popular on bodies of water across the world. While fun is the name of the game, safety remains a top priority. How do you know if what you’re buying is safe for users? Safety standards can sometimes be expensive to meet. Make sure your inflatable investment has been invested in by the manufacturer too. Below is a list of 10 important elements to look for when purchasing commercial-grade inflatables for your water.

1. Entrapment Hazards

These hazards can be found within grab and climbing handles. The gap between the handle and equipment should not exceed 1.2”. Larger openings can result in entrapment of a user’s ankle or wrist.


2. Safety Standards

Check that your products meet or exceed safety standards. This ensures proper test methods and compliance have been followed and are recognized. Safety labels certify these standards have been met by an accredited test house such as TUV or SGS. Be sure to ask for copies of certificates!


3. Minimum Water Depth

Each inflatable product should list a minimum water depth (the vertical distance between the sea floor and the still water level) in its specifications. This should be shown in both the user manual and directly on the product itself. The minimum water depth is a calculation based on a certified formula that correlates with the height of the product–ensuring the safety of users if there is a fall from the highest point.


4.  Labels

Products should have clear warning labels, consumer information, and safety markings directly on the product and visible. These labels include load capacity, intended users, place of use, risk hazards, performance, and relevant safety information.


5. Pressure Gauges

A pressure gauge should be available to purchase or included with your product purchase to help ensure correct inflation is maintained. Over or under inflation can result in dangerous in-water performance and create hazards.


6. Anchoring

Anchoring instructions for the intended body of water should be supplied by the product manufacturer. Each product requires proper anchoring equipment. These anchors keep the floating product in place and adequately spaced from other solid objects.


7. Connections to Other Inflatables

As obstacle courses and tracks increase in popularity, and size, safe connections from one product to another are vital. No gap between products should be wider that 1”. A cover flap should also be used to avoid entanglement or entrapment of users.


8. Detailed Instructions

Each product should come with its own detailed user manual and specifications. These instructions should always include set up or assembly, disassembly, warning instructions, and safety and service information.


9. Repair Kit Information

Natural wear is inevitable; proper repair and maintenance information should be provided to ensure each product can continue to perform safely. Any spare parts likely to need replacement should be included as well as repair materials such as glue and patches for simple repairs.


10. Locking Inflation Valves

Locking valves prevent unintentional opening and deflation of the product. Any protruding parts of the valve should be rounded and should not create a risk for entrapment.


This list is not all-inclusive and should not be exclusively relied upon to ensure the safety of your products and park.