'This might be the last time we see ya, ma...we're off on the bouncy castle...'
In a modern(ish) step up from seaside trampolines, many of which are now closed due to health and safety issues, as kids we were introduced to the bouncy castle. Fun, exhausting and shoeless, what could possibly go wrong?
The fun police have, however, got in on the act following an "alarming increase" in the amount of accidents suffered by kids on the inflatable amusements.
Over the last seventeen years, the number of injuries occurring on bouncy castles has increased fifteen-fold, according to a report in the Telegraph. But I wonder...
...the article doesn't exactly underline whether the falls resulting in the reported head and neck injuries are commensurate with the amount of actual bouncy castles there are nowadays.
Results must be tempered by increase in bouncy castles at large
You could just as well say "the number of accidents occurring involving laptops has increased twenty-fold in the last ten years." I doubt that the statement is precisely true, but that type of injury has increased, for sure; who the feck owned a laptop in 2002?
Similarly, when we were growing up in the seventies, sporting brown trousers, orange-and-brown zig-zag tank-tops and matching balaclava a la the heroes of "Why Don't You?", bouncy castles were only ever seen at Carnivals and Fun Fairs.
The report that provoked this new task for the fun police states that, on average, five children every four hours are recorded as having falls, strains and sprains on bouncy castles in the U.S. In 1995, the date the figures are compared to, I bet those five children wouldn't even have known where to find a bouncy castle, let alone have an accident on one.
However, you have to temper that statistic by factoring into the equation that they can be hired by any Trent, Duane or Larry throwing a garden party, these days.
In comparison in the UK, the Boys' Brigade - you know, that font of medical knowledge and research (?) - have gone on record as stating around 10,000 such injuries occur annually on our shores.
What next? Barbie banned for horse-riding without a helmet?
In support of these UK figures, there is evidence that 40% of accidents happen at private functions, the balance at public events. Now that's data you can verify and deal with.
But you can see it, now. Hanging up in a row next to bouncy castles will be Telly Tubbie-like costumes made out of styrene so that the kids can bounce up and down without fear of 'falling'.
The majority of incidents, strangely, happen when kids are jumping 'off' the bouncy castle, not 'on' it. Put a net across the front then! Not rocket science, is it?
What the feck is a bouncy castle for if you can't come a cropper doing a somersault? Why go on a bouncy castle if you're not gonna pinball off every wall and possibly take out a few smaller kids along the way?
Three cheers for the fun police who've taken away our slides, witch's hats and trampolines. And now the bouncy castle is in the dock too. Whatever next, indeed?