Inflatable Alert Devices Help Prevent Injuries


April 27th, 2017 | Brian Field


Inflatables are extremely fun. They are commonly rented at birthday parties and festivals, and are most-often used by children. Unfortunately, there is a huge problem that is largely going unnoticed. However, there is a fail-safe device that easily prevents the problem and can help save the lives of children. 


What is the problem? 


Many people fail to realize that inflatables are incredibly heavy. Ranging in weight from a few hundred pounds to well over a thousand pounds, inflatables are a major piece of amusement equipment and they need to be viewed as such. What’s more, inflatables deflate very quickly. The sudden and unexpected deflation of an inflatable causes a very serious situation during which every second counts. The weight of the vinyl material can entrap patrons inside of the inflatable unit which can cause them to suffocate. Even a small inflatable that suddenly deflates can cause serious injury or even death to a child. Sudden deflation of an inflatable can also cause patrons to fall out onto the ground and it can also collapse onto by-standers near the inflatable. 


Trained operators are recommended by most manufacturers of inflatables. However, even the best trained operators may be unable to hear if an inflatable is deflating. Blower systems do produce a constant sound, however, with the additional noise of children and other ambient facility or outdoor noises, and the fact that most blower systems are located behind the inflatable device, it can be nearly impossible to hear if the blower has stopped or become disconnected from the inflatable device. 


Additionally, it has become an accepted practice in many states that rental companies often drop off their inflatable devices and expect a parent to monitor the inflatable. At these events, it is easy for parents and adults to get side-tracked with caring for food and other festivities. Usually parents don’t realize that children can get injured and suffocate inside an inflatable until they hear screams, and by that time it can be too late.  


The sudden and unexpected deflation of an inflatable causes a very serious situation during which every second counts.


What causes the problem? 


There are many different reasons for why an inflatable may suddenly deflate. Since inflatables rely on a continuous stream of air from an electrical blower, they will deflate if the blower cord gets unplugged, the inflatable gets detached from the blower, or the circuit breaker trips. Moreover, one of the most common causes of sudden deflation are children unplugging the blower or turning it off in hopes of playing a prank on their friends and getting a laugh. 


What is the solution? 


The solution is the Watchdog Blower Siren™. The Watchdog Blower Siren™ is the only recognized alert device for the inflatable industry. Once armed, the Watchdog monitors the electrical flow of the blower system and will sound a high decibel alarm if that flow is interrupted. This loud siren will warn children, parents, and operators that the inflatable is deflating, signifying that all patrons need to safely exit the inflatable ride.


The Watchdog Blower Siren™ has been featured on Good Morning America™ and is quickly becoming part of a “Best Practices” for inflatable device safety. Many insurance companies have even recognized the benefits of this device and offer premium discounts on annual liability insurance renewals for their clients who utilize it. Even the ASTM, a standards developing organization that most states recognize, requires the use of a deflation alert system, such as the Watchdog Blower Siren™.


By combining the use of the Watchdog Blower Siren™ with other good safety practices,  operators and parents can work to greatly reduce the amounts of injuries and deaths incurred by inflatable rides and help ensure the well-being for children around the world. 


The Watchdog Blower Siren™ is the only recognized alert device for the inflatable industry.


ASTM Requirement for Deflation Alert System: 


Where deflation alert systems are used with inflatable amusement devices, the deflation alert system shall incorporate one of the following:

(a) an automated means to monitor the onset of deflation and alert the operator/attendant, OR.

(b) an automated means to monitor the loss of blower function AND a supplemental means to allow operator/attendants to monitor other failure modes that cause rapid deflation which can result in a loss of adequate air support to maintain the structure of the inflatable device.