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My son was trapped in a deflated bouncy castle. AIBU to complain?

(146 Posts)
knackeredmother Sat 19-Jan-13 17:27:24

I was at a party today with my 2 dc in a leisure centre, bouncy castle in a small enclosed room with door locked so no one could 'escape'. Suddenly realised I'd lost sight of my 3 year old son and then saw the staff were deflating the bouncy castle. I asked if they were sure there was no one left in it and they assured me they'd checked and carried on deflating. I began to panic, I couldn't see my son anywhere, they carried on deflating. Another mum heard a 'gasping noise' and managed to somehow dive in through the back of the now deflated castle and pull out my son. He was struggling to breathe, I think more through fright and after hysterics was ultimately ok.
The staff weren't interested, didn't apologise or ask if he was ok.
I then asked to see the manager at the front desk, she wasn't available and the lady was completely uninterested and said 'well he's ok isn't he?'.
This was quite a big castle, I think an adult would struggle to fight their way out if inside, I shudder to think what would have happened if the other mum hadn't heard him and pulled him out.
Now I realise I should have been watching him but it really only seemed like a few moments that I lost sight of him and I probably wasn't as vigilant as usual knowing the door to the room was locked. So should I complain about this or accept it was my responsibility to have not lost sight of him? Or is it really a non event? My dh thinks so but it really scared me and him.

knackeredmother Sat 19-Jan-13 18:22:45

Thanks for the replies, my dh thought I was over reacting, nice to know I'm not. When I left I asked for the manager to ring me, the lady at the desk said she would mention it to her but didn't ask for my number. I made her take it but haven't heard anything yet. I'll update if I do but I'm definitely going to take it further. It is really frightening what could have happened but its more the non reaction of the staff that's worrying.
It was a centre run by Parkwood Leisure but I can't seem to find an email for 'higher up' just a generic form for individual leisure centres.

TheDetective Sat 19-Jan-13 18:26:20

YANBU. You absolutely should take this further. I will assume it is a council run facility? I would by pass the centre manager, and email/write to whoever the relevant council department is and cc the centre manager in. And complain about the attitude of the staff involved at the time also.

Regardless of whether you should have been watching your child, they are responsible for checking the equipment fully. And I would wonder why they would deflate it with children in the vicinity? Inviting trouble really.

knackeredmother Sat 19-Jan-13 18:26:55

Thanks for the replies, my dh thought I was over reacting, nice to know I'm not. When I left I asked for the manager to ring me, the lady at the desk said she would mention it to her but didn't ask for my number. I made her take it but haven't heard anything yet. I'll update if I do but I'm definitely going to take it further. It is really frightening what could have happened but its more the non reaction of the staff that's worrying.
It was a centre run by Parkwood Leisure but I can't seem to find an email for 'higher up' just a generic form for individual leisure centres.

ArthurandGeorge Sat 19-Jan-13 18:29:33

try this as a contact. Absolutely not being unreasonable.

tethersend Sat 19-Jan-13 18:29:55

Absoloutely complain, preferably in writing and containing the phrase 'You've let yourselves down'.

confusteling Sat 19-Jan-13 18:30:45

Yes complain.

Similar happened to me as a child - my head got trapped in the corner, there was a rip, I was small and there were children bouncing on top of me. I was pulled out by 4 men who were alerted by mum's hysterical screaming. Was given oxygen and checked over, fine thankfully but the outcome was so close to being far worse.

That was around 15 years ago and I still struggle to go near bouncy castles, the very thought makes me feel that I can't breathe.

Please complain - it's not a non event at all and these things need strict safety rules.

SandStorm Sat 19-Jan-13 18:33:08

Andrew Holt - Chief Executive
Andrew became Chief Executive of the Parkwood Group on 1 January 2012, having joined the Group Board in 1997 with responsibility for Parkwood’s Leisure division. He was previously involved in sport and leisure management in both the public and private sectors.

Parkwood Leisure Head Office
Attwood House
Perdiswell Park
Droitwich Road
Worcester
Worcestershire
WR3 7NW
Phone Number: 01299 253 400
Fax Number: 01299 253 444

Parkwood Group Head Office
Parkwood House
Berkeley Drive
Bamber Bridge
Preston
PR5 6BY
Phone Number: 01772 627 111
Fax Number: 01772 627 222

Complain, in any way shape or form you can to get some notice. this is awful and could have been much worse.

extracrunchy Sat 19-Jan-13 18:36:21

Oh my god complain!! That is horrible! You poor thing. Hope your little one is ok xx

knackeredmother Sat 19-Jan-13 18:36:35

Wow thanks ArthurandGeorge and Sandstorm, brilliant work.
Tether, that's very funny!

knackeredmother Sat 19-Jan-13 18:37:45

Confustelling- that's sounds horrific. This happened four hours ago and my little boy is still clinging to me saying naughty bouncy castle.

spatchcock Sat 19-Jan-13 18:37:54

Bloody hell, this is awful! What happened was the best case scenario, really - it could've been so much worse. Injury or even death. I would be in need of a stiff drink if I were you.

And I would be complaining until I was blue in the face, to anyone that would listen.

DozyDuck Sat 19-Jan-13 18:45:04

Woah that is horrendous! It's easy to lose sight of a child for a second, that's so dangerous! Complain

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 19-Jan-13 18:46:23

grin grin grin at "you've let yourself down"

Seriously, this is awful. Can't believe how unbothered the staff were!

Blu Sat 19-Jan-13 18:48:21

Bloody hell - what a near miss. He could have been suffocated, or crushed as they folded it. Awful.

And really bad that they are being so blase about it. I would write a formal letter to the Director of the Leisure centre, explaining what happened, including the staff lack of interest, and copy it to your local council. Look on your council's website under 'Health and Safety'. Ours has a H&S Consumer Protection dept.

Well your DH wasn't there was he!

Just adding my voice to the multitudes saying YANBU and complain. The next child might not be so lucky.

HollyBerryBush Sat 19-Jan-13 18:51:21

I would also copy your complaint into your local council - Parkwood are just providors for facilities and dont own them

Gooshka Sat 19-Jan-13 18:51:59

Oh my god, that is absolutely shocking! You should definitely complain, it's unforgivable. As for keeping a closer eye on your child, well nobody can be so perfect as to not blink or glance away for a second; this is in no way anybody's fault other than the people responsible for the bouncy castle/the leisure centre. Hope your little boy (and you) are ok.

5madthings Sat 19-Jan-13 18:53:02

Yanbu at all!!

Do complain loudly!

MiniEggsinJanuary Sat 19-Jan-13 18:55:50

Definitely complain! How hard can it be to see a child in an inflated bouncy castle? They don't sound like they checked properly. Try not to beat yourself up about it - you are normally vigilant and this was not your mistake. Bouncy castles come down really quickly and you said yourself that you stopped watching him for a short time. IMO it probably wasn't necessary to deflate it in a room full of children and should have waited until the children had all left or been accounted for.

McNewPants2013 Sat 19-Jan-13 18:56:43

Yanbu to complain, hope your son is ok.

LynetteScavo Sat 19-Jan-13 19:01:04

YANBU. You must complain.

And the attitude of the staff is just shock

edam Sat 19-Jan-13 19:01:50

Good grief, that is really serious. I'm amazed the staff didn't realise this was a major near-miss. Thank heavens your son was OK. I'd be very concerned about the safety of anyone using that centre with such ignorant, careless staff.

DO please complain in writing to the chief executive and insist they train their staff properly not only to avoid accidents and tragedies but also to recognise when something is important.

I'd also complain to the Health and Safety Executive and, if it's run for your local council, to their chief exec or director of leisure services and to your councillor. Someone senior needs to be accountable and take responsibility for making sure this can't happen again.

edam Sat 19-Jan-13 19:03:09

Btw, we borrow a bouncy castle for our annual street party - we always check there are no stray children left in it. That's just blindingly obvious!

knackeredmother Sat 19-Jan-13 19:05:32

Really good points, Edam I will use some of your second paragraph in my emails if that's ok?
Still no call from the manager. Somehow I don't think it's coming...

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