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My high flying horror at the weekend!

Last Sunday 28th April, my wife and I were at a car boot sale at Ripley cricket club, near my home town of Harrogate and we experienced something that pretty much terrified me as a parent.

You may have heard about the inflatable slide incident on the news or in the newspapers. Six people were injured including a number of young children but thankfully none of them were seriously hurt.

At the time I was with my two young children and I suddenly heard a surrounding gasp from everyone in the field. When I looked up to my horror, this giant inflatable slide had taken off from its pitch and was moving across the field quickly with the wind. I think most of the crowd stood there in utter shock and just hoped. It must have risen in the air by more than twenty feet with children still on it – it was not a nice experience.

We were actually leaving at the time due to the wind and the cold, so I couldn’t see everything but there were two or three children on it when it first flew over, how those children didn’t get seriously injured is simply a miracle.

At the time I tweeted about the incident and the ambulances – to warn people about the traffic etc. Being there and looking up at how high it went was very daunting and really scary. As a parent you don’t expect things like that to happen. Last time an incident like this happened was in 2009 and two women died when an inflatable piece of artwork took off.  It resulted in the artist having to pay £1,000 fine for breaching health and safety regulations.

The experience of ‘car-booting’ was not one that my wife would like to repeat. There was the relentless haggling over items that are worth 10 times the haggle price and then there was the almighty wind, which really took its toll, on the whole day, as well as our clothes rail which kept blowing over. We were only doing it because we are moving house in the next few weeks so we are having to have a bit of a clear out.

The investigation into the health and safety procedures of the slide is still being assessed. I hope something like this never happens again and that people are going to be more aware of the power of that the wind can have, especially when it concerns young children.

I hope all of the kids and those injured are feeling better. I will certainly think twice about putting my children on a bouncy castle next time.

Chris Norton

Chris is listed in the world's top 30 PR bloggers and a regular conference speaker on crisis management and social media marketing. He is also co-author of Share This Too and lectures on digital communications at Leeds Metropolitan University.

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