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To think wow balls are not safe

(18 Posts)
BLOO3Z Wed 03-Oct-12 10:45:56

I attended a organized event this weekend where our kids had the opportunity to go in a wow ball. For those that do not know what these are they are plastic balls which you climb into they are blown up with air and they are then floated on water.

They where on a canal which is used by pleasure boats, balls attached to bank by rope.

I was questioning why the kids dI'd not need life jackets the person running it had one on when one of the balls sank with child in I spotted this. Person running them dI'd not as she busy getting another child out.
Child calmly climbed out amazingly as no mean feat to unzip one of these things in a cold canal. The child swam to bank and we pulled her out. Child although cold was fine I need to add.
I think these wow balls are a accident waiting to happen. Do I contact HSE?
I am amazed their insurance does not insist on life jackets..
Has anyone else had or heard of any incidents with these balls?

OneOfMyTurnsComingOn Wed 03-Oct-12 10:48:12

My DD has been in one. But it was at a shopping outlet, in an enormous pool. I wouldn't be keen in one in a canal.

BLOO3Z Wed 03-Oct-12 10:55:06

Yes I think they fine in a shallow pool too, however my other concern is that these things run out of air quite quickly too as they leave you feeling quite light headed, its down to the person running it to time it. I hate to spoil people/kids fun but feel someone is going to have a accident in one if guide lines not in place.

complexnumber Wed 03-Oct-12 17:00:51

I'm trying to picture this.

If the balls were tied to the bank, why wasn't the deflating ball dragged in before the child needed to get out and swim.

Hats off to the child for acting so calmly, it must have been very scary. Good for you in helping the child out of the water.

The owner/manager does sound extremely negligent if he didn't even notice.

I'm not entirely sure that wearing a life jacket in such a confined environment would actually be of benefit, it could be a hinderance.

They do look terrific fun, and I would feel sad if they were smothered in H&S regulations.

RubberNeckerNicker Wed 03-Oct-12 17:07:56

That does sound horrifying, I've only ever seen them used in large paddling type pools. Surprised any parent would let a child use one over open water!

BLOO3Z Wed 03-Oct-12 17:47:52

Could not be dragged in as child started to get out of it, and probably the best action to take as once these things deflate they just a huge plastic bag with no air in them. I don't want to spoilanyones fun by the way I just don't want to see anyone hurt or dead.

BLOO3Z Wed 03-Oct-12 17:51:54

Life jackets would not be a hindrance, I do Water sports and you can buy really neat and small ones these days they not big and bulky like they use to be.

DuaneDibbley Wed 03-Oct-12 17:51:58

I have inspected these at work. The risk assessments for the ones that I've done specify that they must only be used in the pool constructed for the purpose. A time limit also applies for the air supply.
Please contact the Environmental Health department for the council where it happened.

BLOO3Z Thu 04-Oct-12 11:08:19

Thanks Duane and everyone one else for replying I am now in the process of doing something about this and I am hopefull that the company concerned are going to report this I've let them know that I will if they do not.

ParsleyTheLioness Thu 04-Oct-12 18:35:58

So from what Duane is saying they shouldn't be used on a canal then. They need to be warned off then, if this is so.

wishiwasonholiday Thu 04-Oct-12 18:40:15

Ds went in one on holiday in a swimming pool and he had to wear a life jacket, they went across the pool and back and he was shattered, surely there must be some sort of time limit?

DuaneDibbley Thu 04-Oct-12 18:49:20

Well if an operator told me (as an EHO) that they wanted to use them on a canal then I would expect them to show me a risk assessment and method statement demonstrating for example:
The site (so the canal) has been assessed as safe and suitable for this use
The balls are suitable for such use
How they will operate the site (getting people in and out of balls, getting balls in and out of water, securing balls, how they will manage time limits, how they will ensure that the inflation mechanism and any power sources are kept safe, how they will protect staff and customers from falls over the edge of the canal etc)
PLI certificates etc

If they can demonstrate to me that they can safely operate such an activity in such a site then they can go ahead. If not, I would have serious issues.

Event organisers should ensure that operators are competent to run these activities and should be asking for this paperwork.

BLOO3Z Sat 06-Oct-12 14:12:33

There does seem to be a relaxing or ignoring of guidelines and common sense I know of two occasions now when they have been used on open water. I am hoping this is going to be addressed across the country before a incident occurs.

BLOO3Z Sat 06-Oct-12 14:13:57

thanks Duane once again for your input

DuaneDibbley Sat 06-Oct-12 16:37:15

You will hopefully find this useful. Another thing to mention is the potential of contracting something nasty like Leptospirosis or even Hepatitis from the canal water - both for participants and staff.

DuaneDibbley Sat 06-Oct-12 16:39:45

Can I ask whether this is in Falkirk?

BLOO3Z Sun 07-Oct-12 19:50:31

No not in falkirk

BLOO3Z Sun 07-Oct-12 20:16:14

Thank you so much Duane as this as now gone to local environmental health as company concerned and event organizer have told me they happy that all procedures where followed. They do not appreciate how close they came to a serious incident, and said they happy to use these balls in the same way again, obviously I'm not! And very cross they being so flippant where kids are involved.

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