One of the most crucial things to remember about inflatables is that they don't belong at the beach. Inflatable furniture and toys are made for the pool, or similar areas closed off from other bodies of water.
In the ocean, inflatables can catch the wind and float away, carrying their unsuspecting passengers into much deeper waters. Children, as well as adults, may not notice until it's too late. The farther out you are pulled, the more at risk you are. This is especially true for children or adults who aren't strong swimmers, and in harsher waters, even strong swimmers may not be able to swim back to shore.
Taking inflatables out on the ocean can have tragic consequences. Even if you accompany your child on the inflatable device, the wind can pick up at any time, and you could find you are both in real danger. If you are very lucky, beachgoers on shore might notice an inflatable device drifting into deep water, but not everyone is so lucky as inflatable have a low profile hiding them behind the smallest of waves. Inflatables drift far and fast, up to 500m out to sea in 5 minutes in the wrong conditions.
If you see an inflatable that’s been blown away to sea, call 999 Coastguard.
Because they float, some people may consider inflatables safe for kids who can't swim, just like a life jacket. But inflatables just make life jackets more necessary. Children who are unable to swim can easily fall off inflatable toys. Even if the children are being supervised, it only takes a moment of distraction for tragedy to strike, as a child can easily become trapped underneath the inflatable. 77% of drowning incidents occur when the victim has only been missing for five minutes or less.
When putting children on inflatable toys, always ensure they are supervised, and make sure they are wearing the proper flotation equipment in addition to whatever inflatable toy they are riding.
There is also a risk of suffocation that comes with inflatables. Floatables large and small can flip over in the water and trap the rider underneath. This is especially dangerous for children who may lack the strength to turn even a small floatable back over. It's every parent's worst nightmare.
Please take a moment to consider the danger you are putting people in and not sell these items within a 100 meters of open water. You might consider your little stretch of beach to be safe, but by selling these inflatables by open water you also selling the perception they are ok to use on any stretch of open water. The unnecessary deaths and emergency callouts can easily be reduced by vendors self-regulating and acting in a moral and ethical manner rather than waiting for the tragedy to happen that will cause legal code to change. Don't risk being the vendor that sold the inflatable that led to a death.
If you get swept out to sea stay with your inflatable and shout for help. Wave your hands high in the air if possible, but do not risk capsizing.
If you get seperated from your inflatable remember to float to live.