…when playing on [bouncy] castles.”
I think the literature’s got it wrong on this one. I’m going to illustrate why; not via rational argument, but with the presentation of colourful, photographic counter-evidence. That’s right. It’s a bouncy castle photo-fest.
For the Royal Wedding, Clayponds Village hired out a bouncy castle. Awesome? I thought so. I spent hours on it yesterday, thoroughly enjoying the complete break from study. I woke up this morning sporting a broad range of bruises, a headache and all-over stiffness. Like any good scientist, I decided to see whether there was any scientific literature detailing bouncy castle injuries.
Of course there is!
Not much, though, and most of it’s boring (it’s about kids). My quick search only turned up one mention of the ways adults hurt themselves on bouncy castles. I wanted to check this against the reality of what I’d just experienced. Apparently something like 4000 people present injuries to hospitals after going on a bouncy castle each year in the UK, of which about 6-7% are adults. Here’s what Levene (1992) has to say about it, based on a review of hospital data:
“Adults were injured by doing somersaults…”
“diving over the castles…”
“and throwing one another around.”
Adults should contain their exuberance? Well, perhaps, if they want to avoid the chance of minor injury. However, bouncy castles are wasted on kids: according to the study, they typically sustain injuries falling out of the castle or falling over each other. Clearly, the adults are having more fun, and the evidence is borne out by the types of injuries they sustain.
Think of it as a proposition of acceptable risk. Considering the extremely high level of enjoyment offered by a bouncy castle without the usual responsibility of looking after small children, a small potential for injury must be accepted.
My conclusion: bouncy castles are wasted on children, because their exuberance isn’t even high enough to cause them injure themselves, except for when they fall out. Adults, on the other hand, are capable of much more spectacular and funny achievements, and it is even more entertaining when they fail because they generally only have themselves to blame. I say, the world needs more adults-only bouncy castles. They’re safer if used responsibly, and when used irresponsibly, they’re hilarious.
Levene, S. (1992). More injuries from “bouncy castles”. BMJ, 304 (6837), 1311-1312 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.304.6837.1311-c