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homeTuesday 20th August 2019

Renewed call to ban inflatables

Katie Coyne08/11/2018 - 12:55

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Donia Echouafni described a 'sea of children' crying
Donia Echouafni described a 'sea of children' crying

A call to ban inflatables has been renewed after eight children were injured while playing on a giant inflatable slide at a Surrey fireworks event at the weekend.

At around 7.30pm on Saturday a 9m slide in Woking Park collapsed and children fell off with eight sustaining injuries.

Eyewitness reports suggest that there may have been too many children playing on the slide – up to 40 at a time – and that up to 20 children may have fallen off it. The injured children were taken by South East Coast Ambulance Service to three hospitals and all have been discharged.

Donia Echouafni (pictured) told ITV News how she faced a 'sea of crying children' as she rushed to find her daughter Nadine who was on the ground screaming with a broken pelvis.

The incident follows the deaths of seven-year old Summer Grant in 2016, and three year-old Ava-May Littleboy in July – both involving inflatables. Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow and former minister of state for education, previously called for a temporary ban following the death of Ava-May.

He told BBC 5Live: ‘I reiterate my urge to the government that they should have a temporary ban on inflatables and bouncy castles in public places until all the regulations we know have been updated.

‘Twenty injures since 2011, we’ve had two tragic deaths – the time for just looking at it is over. The government have got to have possibly a temporary ban on these things until we know for sure that they’re safe and no parent has to ever worry again.’

Showmen’s Guild General Secretary, Joe Mercer, said: ‘As the main trade association for the travelling fairground industry, safety is the number one priority for the Showmen’s Guild and it is central to the operation of our members within the industry and we are keen to learn all lessons from any incident however rarely it may occur.

‘While we are not complacent, we acknowledge that although the fairground Industry gives approximately 305 million passenger rides annually, the H&SE calculate that the risk of being injured on a fairground ride is 0.0000278 per cent.’

‘Safety doesn’t just happen. It requires everybody’s commitment and willingness to work in an organised way to achieve good standards. 

‘The Showmen’s Guild will continue to work closely with the HSE in conjunction with the recognised ADIPS scheme, with its certification and training programmes, as well as updates on best practice; to ensure that the highest standards of safety are maintained right across the country; so that everyone can feel confident that when they visit one of our members’ fairs or attractions that they will have fun and not come to any harm.’

After the incident on Saturday night, police evacuated the park so emergency services could work. It has since handed over investigation of the incident to the Health and Safety Executive.

An HSE spokesperson said: ‘HSE will be carrying out a thorough investigation into the incident involving an inflatable slide in Woking in which a number of children were injured on Saturday evening.

‘As this will be a live investigation, it is not appropriate for HSE to discuss details or comment further at this time.’

 

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