Setting Up a Bouncy Castle Safely: A Guide According to EN14960 Standards

Bouncy castles are a staple of children's parties and events, offering endless fun and excitement. However, ensuring their safe setup is paramount to prevent accidents and injuries. In Europe, the EN14960 standard provides guidelines for the safe installation and operation of inflatable play equipment, including bouncy castles. Here's a comprehensive guide to setting up a bouncy castle safely in accordance with EN14960 standards:



It is also important to note that HSE (Health and Safety Executive) will allow wind speeds taken on site regularly by you or your customer in enclosed gardens or areas where wind is not as expected on weather forecasts. You can do this with an anemometer, via your own risk assessment.

Example anemometer

1. Choose the Right Location also know as "Siting": Select a flat, level surface for setting up the bouncy castle. Ensure there are no sharp objects, debris, or overhanging branches nearby. If setting up on grass, check for any hidden rocks or uneven ground that could cause instability.

  • The inflatable should sit on a surface with no more than 5% slope in any direction [EN14960]
  • If, for crowd-control purposes, a perimeter fence is used, it shall be at least 1,8 m from walled sides and

    at least 3,5 m from open sides. A gateway shall be 1,0 m wide [EN14960]

  • When inflatables are sited on hard standing with fewer than one supervisor per inflatable, the impact area shall be extended to a width of 1.5m so any fall off point greater than 630mm (unloaded) is covered with impact material (safety mats) [EN14960]

  • A clear area, free of any obstacle that could cause injury, shall be maintained around the inflatable. Theextent of this clear area shall be established by dividing the height of the highest platform by two. The minimum clear area shall be 1.8 m on walled sides and 3.5 m on open sides [EN14960] - Of course not every garden hire is going to have 1.8m clearance around the inflatable. You are able to risk assess situations for example if there is 1.5m clearance then the risk posed should be assessed by you and you can make a decision on whether or not to site in that location or not.

2. Secure Anchoring: Use appropriate anchoring methods to secure the bouncy castle firmly to the ground. EN14960 recommends using either ground stakes or sandbags for anchoring. Ensure that the anchoring points are securely fastened to the inflatable and are capable of withstanding the expected forces.


How many pegs do I need per inflatable?

You should use every anchor point available to you on the inflatable

What pegs are suitable for use with bouncy castles?

Your pegs must be a minimum size of 16mm x 380mm and our recommendation is steel rebar "J Hook". You can also use round top pegs however these are less common.

Fig 1: EN14960 Suitable J Hook Peg

We stock 1000's of pegs if you are looking for compliant products

How To Anchor Pegs Correctly

The ground pegs must be banged into the ground at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees (see Fig 2). They must only have 25mm exposed above ground level. [EN14960]

Fig 2: Anchoring Your Pegs


What do you need for anchoring indoors?

When hiring indoors, which is common these days with halls, schools and sports centres you are required to provide enough anchorage, when necessary, to give the inflatable "stability". This is commonly done with PVC sandbag holders. These can be purchased directly from ourselves at AJL. They are clipped via carabiner to the anchor point of the inflatable

Fig 3: PVC Sandbags

Hard Standing Outdoors

What is hard standing?

Hard standing is surfaces that do not provide soft landing or the ability to use ground stakes. Examples of hard standing;

  • Concrete
  • Tarmac
  • Artificial Grass

Basically anything that is not grass.

How do I setup safely on hard standing?

Setting up fully safely on hard standing is not the easiest thing to do and comes with plenty of risk. Firstly, if you cannot drill into the ground with concrete bolts, or your customer won't let you peg into their lovely new artificial grass - then you might as well forget about hard standing. 

Why? Because EN14960 states that each anchor point must have 163kg of force to be allowed use on hard standing. Now if you do this for example on a standard 12ft x 12ft bouncy castle with 6 anchor points, that is 978kg of force required, almost a tonne! So how are you planning to transport that around?

Our advice is to avoid hard standing outdoors where possible as there is just too much risk and health and safety issues with it.

3. Inspect the Bouncy Castle: Before setup, thoroughly inspect the bouncy castle for any signs of damage, wear, or defects. Check for tears, punctures, loose seams, or missing components. Do not proceed with setup if any issues are found. Regular maintenance and inspection are essential for the safe operation of inflatable play equipment.

4. Follow Manufacturer's Instructions: Adhere to the manufacturer's instructions for setup, inflation, and deflation of the bouncy castle. Each model may have specific requirements and recommendations for assembly. Follow the provided guidelines meticulously to ensure safe installation.

5. Inflate the Bouncy Castle Properly: Use an appropriate blower or inflation device to inflate the bouncy castle according to the manufacturer's specifications. Avoid over-inflating, as this can put excessive stress on the seams and fabric of the inflatable, for example do not put a 2hp blower on a small ball pool as it is just not necessary. Monitor the inflation process to ensure uniform inflation and stability. 

You will need to record a pressure reading at every hire as a direct request of HSE. All inflatables require a minimum pressure of 1kPa. In our experience, it is extremely rare for an inflatable to drop below 1 kPa, but you must check nonetheless. You can check pressure by using a number of devices, most commonly a manometer.

Example manometer

6. Secure Access Points: Ensure that all access points, such as entry and exit openings, are properly secured during setup. EN14960 specifies the use of safety barriers, such as inflatable step-ups or entrance ramps, to prevent falls and accidents. Follow the recommended procedures for securing access points to minimise the risk of injury.

7. Supervision and Monitoring: Once the bouncy castle is set up and operational, ensure adults are aware they must supervise and monitor the activity continuously. EN14960 emphasises the importance of adult supervision to ensure safe play and adherence to safety guidelines. Adults should be responsible individuals to oversee the use of the bouncy castle and intervene if any unsafe behaviour is observed.

8. Implement Safety Rules: Establish and communicate clear safety rules to all users of the bouncy castle. Emphasise the importance of appropriate behavior, such as avoiding roughhousing, flipping, or overcrowding. EN14960 recommends limiting the number of users inside the inflatable at any given time to prevent collisions and injuries. You can direct them to the manufacturer's label which should outline basic safety instructions.

9. Weather Considerations: Keep an eye on weather conditions during setup and operation of the bouncy castle. EN14960 advises against using inflatable play equipment in high winds, thunderstorms, or other adverse weather conditions. Monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to suspend or postpone activities if necessary to ensure the safety of participants.

By following these guidelines and adhering to EN14960 standards, you can set up a bouncy castle safely and create a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Prioritising safety at every step is essential to prevent accidents and injuries, allowing children to bounce and play with confidence and peace of mind.