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.

Margocat Sat 19-Jan-13 17:28:59

YANBU at all!!

VivaLeBeaver Sat 19-Jan-13 17:29:36

I'd complain. The manager needs to know so staff can have some retraining and a better procedure put in place. I know it's not rocket science to check the bouncy castle is empty but they obviously need a reminder.

Sirzy Sat 19-Jan-13 17:30:03

Of course you should complain.

Euphemia Sat 19-Jan-13 17:31:08

Bloody hell yes complain! Vociferously!

MarshaBrady Sat 19-Jan-13 17:31:40

God how scary. Your poor things.

Not a non event at all. Yes to a complaint.

MsVestibule Sat 19-Jan-13 17:32:39

Or is it really a non event? Er no, this is actually a big event! Complain, complain, complain, and I would be taking it up with their Health and Safety officer, then the council's H&S officer if necessary. I'm baffled that nobody else apart from you seems to think that this is a serious problem.

They can be really heavy when deflated. I would complain. How hard is it to see a three year old on a bouncy castle? Not very........

Aspiemum2 Sat 19-Jan-13 17:33:21

Wow that wasn't what I expected when I clicked on this. I can't believe their reaction. This very nearly had a totally different ending and I absolutely think you should complain, at the very least to ensure it doesn't happen again. Must have been so scary for him

MonaLotte Sat 19-Jan-13 17:33:42

You should have been keeping a closer eye. But they should have checked the castle was empty.
At the end of the day you were both in the wrong. I would still make them aware to make sure the equipment is clear before they deflate it. Plus their reaction was pretty bad at the time too.

Nanny0gg Sat 19-Jan-13 17:33:56

It sounds like a serious H&S issue. I'd be having a chat with the council who has presumably licensed them as well as the manager.

Rainbowinthesky Sat 19-Jan-13 17:33:57

I would complain in writing as high up as you can and would write to local paper if they didn't assure you training would be put in place.

HDee Sat 19-Jan-13 17:36:20

MonaLotte, keep a closer eye in a room with a locked door? Short of never taking her eyes off her child, I don't see what else the OP could have done to prevent this.

bowerbird Sat 19-Jan-13 17:36:38

It is NOT a non-event. This is a very very serious dereliction of care and breaches every decent H&S rule in the book (you know, the ones that actually make sense?). Definitely contact the manager and if he/she doesn't take it seriously then go above their head. Is it a council leisure centre or private? Either way, there are strict guidelines that should be followed.

Can you imagine if that other mum hadn't heard the noise and acted as she did?

If anything, YABU to even ask this. Your son nearly suffocated and the staff weren't bothered.

OddBoots Sat 19-Jan-13 17:39:57

Absolutely complain. We use a bouncy castle at work and the policy is not to deflate it until all children have left the room/cordoned area, never mind just the castle.

BanghamTheDirtyScone Sat 19-Jan-13 17:40:06

Terrible, really awful - the next child they don#t notice might not be so lucky.

I am really sorry this happened. Please please complain, on behalf of every parent who will let their children use this thing in future.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sat 19-Jan-13 17:40:11

That is very serious!

It's nonsense IMO to say you should have been keeping a closer eye on him! In a locked room with play equipment, a 3 year old may be darting from one thing to can't keep your eyes n them every minute.

The staff are at fault and it needs to be taken seriously. If they don't review their procedures, next time could be even worse!

BanghamTheDirtyScone Sat 19-Jan-13 17:41:01

Yes quite, any ofthe children could have run onto/into it while itwas being deflated.

Totally negligent of them. Totally.

Rosa Sat 19-Jan-13 17:41:19

Even the small ones are heavy ..I have hired some and they take more than one perosn to pull. The canvas obiously does not breathe your son was being folded up in a giant plastic bag. I would complain but time not just to the company but to whoever possible -imagine if they do it again.....

catgirl1976 Sat 19-Jan-13 17:41:39


He's 3 poor little mite

That was dangerous sad

Cherriesarelovely Sat 19-Jan-13 17:43:21

You must complain, that is really terrible. What a scarey experience for you both.

flossy101 Sat 19-Jan-13 17:43:43

I can't believe they started deflating without checking all the children were off. Definitely raise with the manager.

HollyBerryBush Sat 19-Jan-13 17:47:05

Holy shit - and I never do the 'could have' scenarios - but he could have axphixiated

Sarahplane Sat 19-Jan-13 17:50:16

Please please complain. That's really dangerous. your poor son. They should have checked no lids were around before they started deflating it, and especially when you told them your son was missing. If they weren't even bothered by nearly suffocating a child then it doesn't sound like they've learnt from this so could very likely happen again.

Sarahplane Sat 19-Jan-13 17:50:56


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
Phone Number: 01299 253 400
Fax Number: 01299 253 444

Parkwood Group Head Office
Parkwood House
Berkeley Drive
Bamber Bridge
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...

Pleasenomorepeppa Sat 19-Jan-13 19:05:34

Complain, complain & complain again!!
Just read the OP to DH, he's astounded! Complain!

trofeewife Sat 19-Jan-13 19:08:07

shock how scary. Your poor ds must have been absolutely terrified.

HollyBerryBush Sat 19-Jan-13 19:08:22

I don't know what your parkwood is staffed with, ours w#seems to be full of disaffected teenagers waiting for thie big break, absiolutely killing time with an air of apathy.

coldcupoftea Sat 19-Jan-13 19:10:38

Oh dear god, that is the stuff of nightmares, makes me feel sick thinking about it, like the time my 4yo DD almost got off the tube without me.

Definitely complain to the highest level, and if you get no response take it to the local paper.

Hope your little DS is ok, and that you have had a stiff drink!

Adamit Sat 19-Jan-13 19:11:15

oh my god i'd be livid! YANBU at all. so scary and dangerous and could like another poster effect them later in life.

and if you get no response blacken their name ... local paper, fb, radio whatever!!

FannyFifer Sat 19-Jan-13 19:13:16

Bloody hell you poor thing, there could have been such a bad outcome here.
I would absolutely complain.

notjustamummythankyou Sat 19-Jan-13 19:19:34

Your story has just made my blood run cold. You need to take this to the absolute highest level - it sounds like there has been complete disregard for h&s procedure.

I know we don't do them here, but I'm sending you a hug. smile

onedev Sat 19-Jan-13 19:20:41

I'd go mental - definitely complain.

kerstina Sat 19-Jan-13 19:20:58

I just do not understand why they would start deflating while there were still children running about in the room. They should have waited for them to have left the room. Otherwise children could run back on. Just stupid.

CCC1 Sat 19-Jan-13 19:22:26

I'd go directly to the HSE copying the leisure group and local council in. As others have said it's a serious matter. There was a case a couple of years ago where a child died on a bouncy castle at a back garden birthday party. The parents pursued the party child's parents through the courts for providing inadequate supervision on the inflatable. I'd imagine leisure centre staff should be more than clued up on safe use of equipment.

LDaisy Sat 19-Jan-13 19:22:55

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catgirl1976 Sat 19-Jan-13 19:23:56

LDaisy Did you mean to sound so twunty?

notjustamummythankyou Sat 19-Jan-13 19:25:23


Bunbaker Sat 19-Jan-13 19:26:53

What a horrible post LDaisy. Keeping an eye on an active child for every single second at a pary that lasts for a couple of hours is unrealistic and very hard to do. It means that you can't even turn your head to talk to the person next to you.

LDaisy Sat 19-Jan-13 19:27:01

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Bunbaker Sat 19-Jan-13 19:27:14

Party not pary!

Bunbaker Sat 19-Jan-13 19:28:12

Regardless of who is to blame, the attitude of the staff was dreadful.

ReluctantMother Sat 19-Jan-13 19:29:28

That is shocking. I would go to the local paper - it will discourage people from booking parties there and could avoid a tragedy.

littleducks Sat 19-Jan-13 19:29:47

LDaisy the OP knew/strongly suspected where her child was-on the bouncy castle-but the staff wouldn't liten and stop deflating it.

NatashaBee Sat 19-Jan-13 19:30:35

I would definitely complain. This could have had a far worse outcome.

cocoachannel Sat 19-Jan-13 19:30:49

There's always one...

YANBU at all. Very, very scary and serious. Definitely complain, if no response tell the local press or Twitter. They'll respond then...

StillSmilingAfterAllTheseYears Sat 19-Jan-13 19:30:49

This is quite shocking, the way they didn't stop when you were looking for him is the worst bit.

Take care of both of you, a scare like that can be upsetting for a while.

And complain like mad.

crashdoll Sat 19-Jan-13 19:31:02

LDasiy You must be the perfect parent then and also one of those people who wastes social services' time and thus, punishes those who really do need help.

crashdoll Sat 19-Jan-13 19:31:59

Oh and btw YANBU OP.

LDaisy Sat 19-Jan-13 19:32:59

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LDaisy but what if the mother had not been at the party? Ultimately it is up to the staff at the leisure centre to ensure correct operation of equipment and that H&S procedures are followed.

FatherReboolaConundrum Sat 19-Jan-13 19:33:19

OP, your local paper would absolutely love this story. A picture of you looking traumatised with Parkwood Leisure logo in the background would pretty much guarantee a quick response from the useless bastards.

LDaisy, actually safety is the responsibility of the people who run these things. That's why they can end up having to pay large fines or going to prison if they've been negligent and something awful happens.

zipzap Sat 19-Jan-13 19:34:13

Yanbu to complain - loudly and vociferously.

I would send formal complaints to the leisure centre, council, local HSE and anybody else that seemed relevant (eg is the centre a member of an industry group or show a quality mark?)

I would also put some very harsh cutting remarks on their Facebook page, twitter etc. Something along the lines of 'can't believe staff didn't check bouncy castle before putting it away with my 3 yr old ds trapped in it. Eternally grateful to other mum who heard him in there gasping - whilst staff completely disinterested and not caring they had almost suffocated my son. Even management not bothered that their staff nearly killed my son. You've been warned - let your kids on their bouncy castle at their peril!!'

Something basically true but emotive that if other people are contemplating using the centre or booking a party there that will make them think twice. Maybe if their bookings are affected they might start to be a little bit more concerned...

magimedi88 Sat 19-Jan-13 19:34:22

Complain & keep on complaining & don't take any notice of that silly fecker LDaisy.

Bunbaker Sat 19-Jan-13 19:35:29

LDaisy Have my first ever biscuit

catgirl1976 Sat 19-Jan-13 19:35:33

Do you have children LDaisy?

If not, you are not really qualified to comment

If yes, then I would worry more about the effect you having an affair with a Danny Dyer look-a-like may have on them (and your own terrible personal taste) than what anyone else is doing

MrGeresHamster Sat 19-Jan-13 19:36:10

YANBU... What an awful thing to have happened and a disgusting attitude from the staff. Complain, complain, complain.

knackeredmother Sat 19-Jan-13 19:39:32

Just to add, it was a large castle with an inbuilt slide so I'm not sure if he was in the stair area and she didn't check properly or he snuck back in after she checked. Either way very worrying.

CCC1 Sat 19-Jan-13 19:39:39

LDaisy. While deflating equipment, safety and responsibility lies firmly with the staff undertaking the duties.

Arthurfowlersallotment Sat 19-Jan-13 19:40:08

I would sue the fuck out of them.

LDaisy Sat 19-Jan-13 19:41:52

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

I have read all the replies to your OP, but I would be very surprised if anyone thought YWBU.

I have a 2 and a 4 year old and felt a rising tide of anxiety just reading your account of what happened. What a nightmare. Thank God you realised he could be in there and that woman found him.

Uh, ok, just read the post before mine. There was one then. There's always one isn't there.

It's difficult to keep your eyes on two children, even in a locked room. She noticed he was missing and asked if he could be on the castle so clearly not negligent. The staff assuring her he was not are not once but twice negligent in missing him on there/climbing on and then failing to check when queried.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 19-Jan-13 19:47:27

You'd have to practice your sad face if you went to the local paper. They'd have you outside the venue, arms folded, looking distraught posing for photos so quick your head would spin. grin

Blu Sat 19-Jan-13 19:47:41

This is a really serious matter. It needs looking into officially. That is why it is important to send a proper complaint to the HSE (Health and safety Executive). They will investigate the procedures and agree further actions.

Don't start with Twitter, and local papers etc. That way the Leaisure centre will just make some half arsed apology and say they are improving training and nothing will happen.

fluffypillow Sat 19-Jan-13 19:49:02

Please complain. My Husband hires out Bouncy castles and slides for a living, and he is always SO careful about this sort of thing. You HAVE to be. Safety first, ALWAYS.

The staff should not get away with this, and you must make sure this doesn't happen to another child by taking this matter all the way. The staff must be idiots.

Such an awful thing to happen. I hope your little boy is ok.

pingu2209 Sat 19-Jan-13 19:49:47

Your complaint and minor embarrassment could save another child's life. Do it. Do it in writing.

missalien Sat 19-Jan-13 19:52:16

Ask to see their risk assessments
Contact the hse for your loca area
get a solicitor to look into it on your behalf
Contact papers , daily mail would love this!!
Tell all your friends and family
Never go there again
Ignore idiot poster . (not me :-))

knackeredmother Sat 19-Jan-13 19:53:47

Thanks for the supportive comments. LDaisy what an awful thing to write to someone who is really shook up. I was standing near the bouncy castle, I wasn't on the other side of the room, which was how I was fairly sure my son was on the castle. I took my eyes away for what seemed like a few moments and suddenly the castle was going down. My 5 year old was also there on the other side of the room, I can't force them to stay side by side and need to take eyes off one briefly to watch the other. I was near the 3 year old as he is younger.
I didn't leave him unsupervised but did lose sight of him long enough to not know if he had got off or not. Thanks for making feel really great.

FatherReboolaConundrum Sat 19-Jan-13 19:54:18

'Don't start with Twitter, and local papers etc. That way the Leaisure centre will just make some half arsed apology and say they are improving training and nothing will happen.'

Not true, Blu. A story in the paper combined with a formal complaint to company and to HSE will put a rocket up them.

FeistyLass Sat 19-Jan-13 19:56:02

I'm with your dh on this. I don't think it was that big a deal (and I say that as someone who was on a bouncy castle that deflated as a child).
You don't really know what happened.
Maybe they did shout everyone off. Maybe they did check. Maybe your ds went back on. . . Or maybe they were completely remiss . . . but the fact is that you don't know. You complained at the time and that would be enough for me.
However, I can see I'm obviously in the minority on this smile

knackeredmother Sat 19-Jan-13 19:56:03

Oh and to whoever asked about the staff, it was a young girl deflating the castle. She did look mortified and I think perhaps that's why she didn't check he was ok.

ReluctantMother Sat 19-Jan-13 19:59:15

The op would have heard if the staff called people off the castle.

Fakebook Sat 19-Jan-13 20:11:26

Yanbu! I can't believe how blasé people are about deflated bouncy castles though.

Dd went to her friends birthday party last September and they had a massive castle with slide in the hall. When I went to pick her up they had let the air out and other mothers were telling their children to jump on it to deflate it quicker hmm. A couple of minutes later the parents went off somewhere and Dd's friend started jumping through the little tunnel as it was deflating and a few other children tried joining in. I got in their way and told them not to go on the castle as it was dangerous. Anyway, we ended up staying a little longer and the other mothers came back (had saw me SAVING their children's lives) and shouted "any other children want a few more jumps on the castle before it goes down" and looked my way! I couldn't believe it. Stupid cows.

Anyway, deflating bouncy slides/castles are really dangerous and I'm shocked the girl hadn't noticed your son go in.

ZenNudist Sat 19-Jan-13 20:16:50

Def complain councils are really big on health & safety, mind you that might mean they stop having kids parties! Not only are the staff morons for not checking the castle was clear before letting it down but I hate hate hate it when people ignore the basic principals of good customer service. It would incense me that they didn't apologise to you and give your ds a lolly or something. It's basic but it works.

ChasedByBees Sat 19-Jan-13 20:29:43

I had a similar experience. We were allowed to play on the bouncy castle as it was deflated and we were all falling all over the place. I fell and then a wall came down on my head and other kids fell either side trapping my mouth and nose against the plastic. I got free quickly but it was a terrifying few seconds.

Definitely complain.

elizaregina Sat 19-Jan-13 21:41:01

havant read thru but of course complain , more than him getting trapped it s the staffs attitude that frightens me more...

elizaregina Sat 19-Jan-13 21:41:15

Papers too?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 19-Jan-13 21:46:44

Fucking hell. My heart is racing just reading that! I can't believe your DH thinks it's a 'non event' shock

They should not have been deflating it when the children were still there.

Their attitudes are disgraceful & disgusting.

Escalate it to the highest level, sod the manager.

No one with half a brain thinks you did anything wrong. You were in what should have been a 'safe' environment where you didn't need to keep your eye on your 3 yo every single minute.

They were doing something incredibly dangerous - fucking idiots.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sat 19-Jan-13 22:14:23

That's terrible, you must have been so scared. Not ok to have dismissed your concerns, & definitely needs following up.

LittleChimneyDroppings Sat 19-Jan-13 22:22:51

Hell no, take it as far as you can. Its lucky that your ds is ok. If the staff are that irresponsible with potentially dangerous equipment then they shouldn't be allowed to operate it in the first place. Stupid bloody idiots.

RibenaFiend Sat 19-Jan-13 22:27:17

You are absolutely NBU! Bloody hell. Complain. Have a stern conversation with the manager and demand to read their risk assessments for the equipment.

My friend's family had a few bouncy castles when I was growing up. It was wonderful because in the days pre trampolines in everyone's gardens we could go and bounce ourselves silly when they weren't being hired at the weekend... As we got older we would deflate them on each other. At 12 I passed out as I couldn't breathe under a deflating castle. I was a swimmer with good body strength and a great lung capacity and used to a lot of rough play (including trying to drown each other!) but a bouncy castle is worst than being pulled under water by your friend on your ankles... They are thick, airtight plastic and they are horrendously heavy. Your DC was very very lucky.

Please speak to the centre OP

RibenaFiend Sat 19-Jan-13 22:39:42

Best I could come up with OP hmm

Parkwood Leisure Head Office, Perdiswell Park, Droitwich Road, Worcester, WR3 7NW

I would put it in writing. I would also send it recorded delivery but that's my experience

OpheliaBumps Sat 19-Jan-13 23:33:44

Try as email addresses seem to be first.lastname is Their Operations Director, so try him too.

Complain complain complain, that is a terrifying OP.

TinyDancingHoofer Sat 19-Jan-13 23:43:58

This is so different to what i expected when i clicked. YADNBU. When i was little we used to get the bouncy castle deflated and reflated because it was fun crawling through. I thought you were going to be complaining about someone doing that. But this is so different. I can't believe they didn't clear the room or at least the near area to deflate esp. with 3yos around. So dangerous, you need to complain and try to get them to change procedure or staff safety training.

M0naLisa Sun 20-Jan-13 00:41:42

God shock how terrifying. Glad your ds is ok but I would complain. I don't like bouncy castles as a kid I banged my nose and it bled like a fucker since then I hate them. I'm at a party tomorrow with ds2 (4) and I hope there's no bouncy castle

MusicalEndorphins Sun 20-Jan-13 08:29:49

Would that act like that is if were William and Kates child rapped inside?
I think not.

MusicalEndorphins Sun 20-Jan-13 08:30:04


LoopsInHoops Sun 20-Jan-13 08:39:09

I would be furious.

A very strongly worded complain by email, followed up by letter, CCd to the Chiefe exec and the H&S executive.

Is it a leisure centre funded by council? Them too.

Email should say what happened, what you expect to happen, and that they have 24 hours to respond before you go to the papers.

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Sun 20-Jan-13 08:44:53

Yanbu, i would file a complaint against them.
If it wasn't for that lady, i dread think about what may have happened.
It's not your fault, you took your eyes of him for a few seconds. We are all human.
They should have checked, im astounded they never even apoligisedshock

Bloody hell how horrific sad

What the hell are they doing deflating it when the kids were still around anyway? Three year olds are all dare devils they would never for a second think about being safe.

A locked room, children's play area- whole point of these places is so they can run around in a safe area where they can't hurt themselves. Where they can get let off the reins and not have mummy inches away at all times!

Complain! Definately complain!!!

Shutupanddrive Sun 20-Jan-13 09:06:15

Shocking! Yes definately complain, I would be furious angry

knackeredmother Sun 20-Jan-13 17:11:49

Small update: I've spoken to the duty manager today who did apologise but said the staff members story was different to mine. She said the staff member checked the castle was empty but when she went to the back of the castle to unplug it my son must have sneaked back on.
I've asked my son who says he was hiding behind the stairs of the slide that was incorporated into the castle as he wanted to stay on. He's just turned 3 and his speech isn't great so I'm not sure what really happened.
Either way perhaps they should have a policy to deflate when everyone has left the room or have 2 staff members doing it.
I mentioned that no one seemed bothered or checked on him but to be honest I think she thought I was over reacting.

knackeredmother Sun 20-Jan-13 17:13:49

Should add I have an email drafted that I am sending to head of parkwood leisure, the centre manager, the local council (Parkwood run it on their behalf) and the local HSE. Just getting a lawyer friend who was present to check it over.
Thanks to all those who looked up addresses and for all the lovely supportive comments.

PurpleStorm Sun 20-Jan-13 17:38:48


Definitely complain. In writing. I'd be sending a copy of my written complaint to my local council and HSE offices too. I don't think that the duty manager's response is adequate. You're not over-reacting. This incident could have had tragic consequences if the other mum hadn't rescued your son.

The staff members in charge of deflating the bouncy castle should check thoroughly that no-one's still in it before they start deflating it (and checking this is the responsibility of the person deflating the bouncy castle, not the responsibility of the parents).

They should also ensure that no-one sneaks back onto the bouncy castle while it's being deflated. Again, this is their responsibility, and not anyone else's. If the bouncy castle's so large that the staff can't spot a child sneaking back on (possibly the case, if it's one of the big ones with a built in slide), they shouldn't be deflating it when there's still kids in the room.

They need need retraining and better safety procedures for bouncy castles.

LynetteScavo Sun 20-Jan-13 18:10:23

Just to add, when I have been at private parties when a castle is being deflated, there have been lots off calls that it's about to be deflated, the person switching it off checks that everyone has accounted for their DC, and only then deflates.

This obviously didn't happen. I think you should sugest their deflating policy includes all children being accounted for before deflation, or no deflation while guests are present.

13Iggis Sun 20-Jan-13 18:26:06

Can't believe they are trying to blame a 3 year old for "sneaking on". They obviously hadn't waited till every child was claimed by a parent, had they?
I can't see why they needed to deflate it when the kids were in the room. Sounds like they were trying to save themselves some time.

StillSmilingAfterAllTheseYears Sun 20-Jan-13 18:32:41

I think you should take it further and agree copy to HSE/local council to make them take it seriously.

Doesn't matter if he was hiding or snuck back on does it, he was at risk and that is something to avoid in future.

PessaryPam Sun 20-Jan-13 18:37:19

Yes report the whole thing to the council, this is what they are there for.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 20-Jan-13 18:43:54

Hello Op.

I am a leisure Management graduate with knowledge of the law regarding H&S.
Not only should you complain but you need to inform the authorities. Firstly without seeing the room, I'm pretty sure the door should not have been locked. Did anybody give you advice on fire exists etc. Also was it a private booking or provision purely by the facility. Even though the law differs between the two, being as the staff deflated the castle they are responsible.
I would be asking many questions and expecting lots of answers.
This is completely unacceptable.
Please don't let this go, next time it could be much worse. Many centres refuse to use them now due to similar situations, i.e outdoor use and high winds. Kids falling off and injuries etc.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 20-Jan-13 18:44:35

Sorry, fire exits.

financialwizard Sun 20-Jan-13 19:21:52

God OP your post made my blood run cold. Definitely agree with everyone else in saying that you should complain to the highest level.

knackeredmother Mon 21-Jan-13 14:16:02

Next update:
I emailed the manager and copied the chief exec , director of operations and the health and safety team of the local council.
The director of operations replied immeadiately saying he would investigate and get back to me personally within 48 hours and also gave me his mobile number.

I am very happy with that response, someone senior is taking things seriously and has responded appropriately. Thankyou to the poster who gave me that e mail. Hopefully things will change there to avoid a future disaster.

notjustamummythankyou Mon 21-Jan-13 17:54:22

That is good news. It seems like they are taking your complaint very seriously, which of course they should! Look forward to seeing a further update. smile

bowerbird Mon 21-Jan-13 19:11:53

OP I'm very glad you decided to complain, and also glad that the chief exec has responded with the seriousness that this case merits.

Keep us posted.

orangepudding Mon 21-Jan-13 19:22:12

That's awful.

If your son was hiding it's irrelevent, it's the staff responsibilty to ensure it's totally clear.

Yfronts Mon 21-Jan-13 19:48:29

They obviously should have two people to deflate the castle if there are young children in the room. Their sloppy behavior could have cost your son his life.

Put the complaint in writing so that it can be addressed properly/officially. Also send a copy to head office/county council management.

Yfronts Mon 21-Jan-13 19:49:06

great to hear you have had a response.

DozyDuck Thu 24-Jan-13 04:36:07

Have you heard back?

thatisall Thu 24-Jan-13 04:48:10

Yadnbu omg bless him!

fromparistoberlin Thu 24-Jan-13 09:06:12

complian to manager and mention/cc the Health and safety Executive

go on their website and look up some long-numbered laws and regulations

whats done is done but you need to scare the shit our of them on this


2rebecca Thu 24-Jan-13 10:07:44

I think you were right to complain. With 3 year olds it is the centre's responsiblity to ensure no children are on or near the bouncy castle when it is deflated and they should have ensured children couldn't hide in it or sneak back on. If it was just up for a party the sensible thing would have been to leave it up until the party was over and all the children have left the room, I've never been at a bouncy castle party where it has been deflated whilst kids were still running about.

StillSmilingAfterAllTheseYears Thu 24-Jan-13 19:40:27

What was the response after 48 hours? I'd like to hear a good result tbh, I can't see how any responsible business can let this go by.

knackeredmother Thu 24-Jan-13 20:26:47

Well I've had an email today from the chief exec, he's spoken to all the staff involved. He's apologised for their flippant attitude, is changing staff training and also their policies. He's kindly offered us a free party at any of their centres.
It sounds as if there has been some serious bollocking going on and I'm really impressed with his response.
The health and safety team of the local council are also investigating but I do feel reassured by the response of their senior bods.
Thanks for all the advice on here, I'm feeling a bit sorry for the sports centre staff now though but I do think it had to be done after being repeatedly told I was not bu on here!
Thanks again ladies.

Goodadvice1980 Thu 24-Jan-13 20:32:07

That's a fantastic piece of reassurance OP! You were 100% right to complain.

Really pleased for you. The attitude of the staff was appalling.

StillSmilingAfterAllTheseYears Thu 24-Jan-13 20:37:05

I'm pleased to hear it is being taken seriously. I am sure you do feel sorry for the staff but this was really serious. They themselves should have completed an incident form for something of this type. Better a bollocking and some training than a real tragedy on anyone's conscience.

PurpleStorm Thu 24-Jan-13 21:16:05

Yes, it had to be done.

I'm sure the staff aren't happy to have had a bollocking, but they'd be feeling an awful lot worse if they did this again and actually injured a child (or worse).

bowerbird Thu 24-Jan-13 21:23:08

Well done OP.

notjustamummythankyou Thu 24-Jan-13 21:41:54

Well done! That is good news.

HollaAtMeBaby Thu 24-Jan-13 21:58:13

Well done! Also thanks for coming back to update smile

OpheliaBumps Thu 24-Jan-13 22:17:17

Oh that's great news, it's so reassuring that it's being taken seriously.

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