Safety advice issued by councils following Gorleston beach tragedy

Waveney and Suffolk Coastal District Councils have issued safety advice following the tragic death o

Waveney and Suffolk Coastal District Councils have issued safety advice following the tragic death of Ava-May Littleboy on Gorleston beach. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: Archant

The death of a young girl has prompted two of the region's councils to issue safety advice on the use of inflatable play equipment.

Three-year-old Ava-May Littleboy, from Somersham, died on July 1 after being thrown from an inflatable trampoline on Gorleston beach.

Despite stopping short of banning inflatables and bouncy castles, Waveney and Suffolk Coastal District Councils have told members of the public to be diligent in their attempts to ensure equipment is safe and fit for use.

In a joint statement, Mary Rudd, Waveney District Council's Cabinet Member for Community Health and Safety, and Steve Gallant, Suffolk Coastal's Cabinet Member for Community Health, said: 'Inflatables are great fun but accidents can occur. We urge anyone buying, operating or hiring bouncy castles and other inflatables to check that the equipment meets current British Standards and ensure that basic safety checks are carried out so that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time.'

Other councils, though, have been more drastic in their stance.

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Ormesby with Scatby Parish Council has decided to ban bouncy castles and inflatables from inside its community halls, while Havant Borough Council in Hampshire will not permit their use on its land 'until the reason for the explosion has been identified'.

Waveney and Suffolk Coastal District Councils have issued the following safety advice and guidelines to anyone looking to purchase, hire or use inflatable play equipment, even if it is just for a one-off event:

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• When buying or hiring an inflatable, make sure it has been built to the current British Standard (BS EN 14960) - there will be a label indicating this. If you cannot see this label, do not buy or hire the equipment.

• The label will tell you when the equipment was made, how many people can use it and what height they should be.

• Every inflatable should have at least 6 anchor points and larger equipment will need more - an operator manual should be supplied and this will advise. BS EN 14960 provides information on calculating anchor point requirements.

• All anchor points must be used, preferably with metal ground stakes at least 380mm in length and 16mm in diameter.

• BS EN 14960 recommends that the maximum wind speed in which inflatable play equipment should be used outdoors is 38kmh. Users should have the means to monitor wind speed at all times while the equipment is inflated.

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