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Eight children ‘potentially seriously injured’ following collapse of inflatable slide

On Saturday night I was queuing with my husband and daughter waiting to get into Woking Park to see the annual Rotary Club fireworks.  As we had been walking to the event we had commented on the number of ambulances going past us and it was only once we arrived we discovered where they had been going.  We never made it inside and were instead evacuated out of the park following reports of a ‘serious incident’ in the fairground area.  That serious incident turned out to involve a number of children falling from an inflatable slide.  From media and social media reporting it seems that eight children were taken to various major trauma centres with potentially serious injuries to the neck and spine, although thankfully the vast majority had been discharged by the following morning.

In recent years there seems to have been an increase in these types of accidents.  Early 2018, a couple were found guilty of corporate manslaughter following the death of seven year old Summer Grant who was playing on a bouncy castle which blew away and in July 2018,
after an incident involving an inflatable trampoline on a Norfolk beach.

A full investigation is underway into the events of Saturday night with the police and the Health and Safety Executive involved.  Understandably, there has been call by MPs to issue a temporary ban on bouncy castles until regulations can be updated in light of the incident at the weekend.  We await further details of what exactly happened and what lessons can be learned so that the chances of this happening again are reduced.

For those injured they may well have potential claims for damages for the injuries they have suffered; not just the physical injuries but the psychological injuries that can arise from being involved in such a traumatic incident.

Recently, we have seen an increase in insurers alleging either that children are in part responsible for their injury and or that their parents are too for lack of supervision.  This is an area of law which is evolving and one where each case falls on its specific facts.  However, parents of those affected should be aware that the Rehabilitation Code comes into play when claims are started and endorses early rehabilitation input regardless of disputes over liability.  One hopes the incident over the weekend is a case where the insurers will put the welfare of these children as their top priority.

Consideration should also be given to the parents or loved ones of those injured who may have witnessed the event or the aftermath and the psychological impact this may have on them.  The parents or loved ones of those injured might be classed as a ‘secondary victim’ and may well also benefit from early intervention if they have witnessed a traumatic event.  I, for one, cannot imagine what those families involved in the incident at Woking Park are going through and my thoughts are with them.

Victoria Oliver is a solicitor and Associate in the Spinal Injuries team and partner at Bolt Burdon Kemp.  If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal injury as a result of result of an accident, someone else’s negligence or you are concerned about the treatment you have received contact Victoria in confidence on 020 8049 8030 or at VictoriaOliver@boltburdonkemp.co.uk.  Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors from the Spinal Injury team will contact you.  Find out more about the Spinal Injury team.

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