Inflatable and Other Amusement Device Use at Home or at School: Hygiene Responsibility and Infection Control

posted Jan 28, 2012, 8:41 AM by Todd Fox   [ updated Aug 11, 2013, 11:19 AM ]

Warmer weather will soon be upon us and so will the need to plan outside parties that will likely include inflatable bounce houses, slides and other amusement devices. As you go through your activity checklists, make sure to add a simple risk management assessment. Other than general safety, you need to ensure that high hygiene standards are met to reduce allergens and germ spreading.

Do the inflatable amusement renters clean the devices? How often? What solution do they use? Do they have exclusion policies posted and enforced that will limit sick children from using? Do they have an attendant that is screening participants?

Schools and other areas (kid parties) are hotspots for germs that can cause illness and disease. Children frequently are exposed to germs due to close proximity of desks and classrooms in addition to their inferior sanitation knowledge. Many times, these germs and allergens congregate in the amusement devices. As the teacher or parent in charge of renting, please have a conversation with the inflatable renting company about the cleaning and health standards they uphold. If you are not comfortable with their standards or are not impressed with their concern for the reduction of germs then walk away. There are plenty of party rental companies that have a sound infection control strategy to benefit their customers.

In addition to their standards, ask the rental company if there is something you can do to maintain a clean environment. Some companies may give you a sanitizing spray that can be applied before and after each wave of kids goes through the party or festival. If they approve you to use your own type of spray (they likely won't because some chemicals will breakdown the inflatable coverings, but if they do then order some SmartTouch sprays. These sprays can also be safely used in your home) then plan a schedule when to apply the disinfectant.

As the teacher or parent, also make sure the students understand that they should refrain from entering if they are sick (a letter home with the child or student works well). Most parents are responsible enough to not allow their children to participate if they are going to spread illness and disease among other children/students. Based on the information we have provided, we want to clarify that we are not teaching an OCD or over-active response to germs, but we do support a responsible approach to hygiene and infection control dealing with inflatable amusement devices.

If you are the inflatable rental company, you should first establish a cleaning and sanitizing policy that is enacted before and after each device is used. Creating a policy will help you and your team follow a simple plan to protect your clients. Outline:
 
    • The cleaning schedule
    • Will there be a signoff for each cleaning period?
    • Who the responsible employee is for cleaning?
    • What materials will you use?
      • Towel types
      • Cleaning solution (effective but does not breakdown your inflatables)
    • What is the policy for excluding sick children?
      • Is it posted?
      • Are all employees briefed often?
    • Do you have a waiver of liability?
      • Is there a clause about illness and disease exposure?

 

The cleaner the operations that you enact, the more repeat customers you will have. Not only will you have more repeat customers, you will have less liability issues dealing with angry parents. From an insurance consultant tied to OUTFOX, the spreading of illness and disease through germs and allergens has become a focus over the last five years and will be more so in the future. It is best to set high hygiene standards today to be prepared for problems in the future. OUTFOX Prevention helps inflatable rental companies establish effective plans for sanitary operations. So, if you would like help please contact us for a free consultation.

OUTFOX Prevention also supports the SmartTouch Sanitizing Systems. We have seen great results with the SmartTouch Disinfectant which should be applied often to help reduce the presence of germs. The SmartShield XLC is the longer term approach that is applied on the materials to protect against germs up to 90 days. Risk management principles that take care of issues through prevention is best! Again, please contact us with questions.

Thank you for tuning in!

 

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