A video of a mum stuck inside a huge ball pit waving her hands frantically for help has gone viral and it’s not hard to see why. It’s guaranteed to have you thinking twice before jumping into a sea of balls with your kids at the next play centre you visit.
Balls of fun
The great thing about being a parent is you get to act like a kid again. So when parenting blogger Vivien Low hit up her new local play centre, AirZone, with her young son she didn’t hesitate to get in on the action. Being scared of heights, Vivien thought she’d opt for the safer option of the bunch and dive in for some fun in the gigantic pool of balls.
She thought wrong.
“I screamed for help”
According to Vivien’s Facebook post, things started out fine but when she lost her balance and fell over backwards into the zillions of plastic balls, things got a little crazy.
“I could not reach the bottom and I could not stand up. I tried to roll over, I couldn’t. I tried to find the net so I could grip it, I couldn’t. My son was stuck inside too. I panicked and waved and screamed for help. None came.”
AHHH!!! Talk about your worst nightmare come true!
Apparently, Vivien’s helper (who shot the video thinking she was filming footage of fun family times) took a while to realise something was wrong and also tried to call for help but to no avail. It was then that the mum was forced to take matters into her own hands.
“I finally grabbed someone’s hand and managed to stabilise myself and stood up. And thereafter I pulled out my son, and two other kids: a boy and a girl,” explains Vivien in her post.
Unbeknownst to the mum until that moment, her own son was caught under the balls too, along with several other children and goodness knows who else.
“It was then the staff came by to help me drag the kids out of the balls before I climbed out. The kids all went in alone. They were about 6-8 years old. The girl was crying and I think she went out after the incident,” adds Vivien.
“It was a nasty experience”
Although Vivien has since vowed that she’ll never be going into the ball pit again (and quite frankly we don’t blame her!), she has said that she won’t stop her kids from playing in it because you know, it’s fun. Her message behind posting the video has simply been a word of warning for parents to ensure they closely supervise their kids (especially young ones) when in the ball pit – and also try not to fall in themselves.
For the record, according to Vivien who is 1.72m tall, the balls were up to her armpits when standing. Now that’s a lot of balls!
Impossible to drown in a pit of balls
AirZone did issue a statement through their Facebook page in response to the rattled mum’s warning.
“Fun fact: actually, it’s impossible to drown in the pit. The uniform 7cm balls create an extremely porous pit and are at the same time too big to fill your nose or mouth.”
Well that’s a relief! They also said they would review the number of balls included in the pit and make sure that trained staff are faster to respond to any requests for assistance (i.e. panicked parents thinking they’re drowning). Hooray!
Ball players take note
So here’s the video in all its glory – scary, mesmerising and a great reminder to watch for distressed kids and parents while at play centres. It’s also kind of funny, now we know they weren’t in any real danger of suffocating.
Today I had the fright of my life. We went to the newly opened Air Zone at City Square Mall. I was afraid of heights. But my boy wanted to play. So I just went ahead. I thought the ball pit was the safest place of the 3 storey structure. But I was so wrong. Not long into the play, I lost my balance in the ball pit and fell backwards. I could not reach the bottom and I could not stand up. I tried to roll over, I couldn’t. I tried to find the net so I could grip it, I couldn’t. My son was stuck inside too. I panicked and waved and screamed for help. None came. I seriously panicked and did not know what to do. (My helper stoped the video when she realised something was wrong and shouted for help too but none came)I finally grabbed someone’s hand and managed to stabilise myself and stood up. And thereafter I pulled out my son, and 2 other kids: a boy and a girl. It was then the staff came by to help me drag the kids out of the balls before I climbed out. The kids all went in alone. They were about 6-8 years old. The girl was crying and I think she went out after the incident. Looking at the video which my helper had taken with the intention of taking us playing, there were about 4 heads under the pool of balls. At the side there was an adult pulling out another kid. Yes it was a nasty experience for me. I’m not going into the ball pit anymore. ? however, I will not stop my kids from playing there. But I will ensure an adult (my hubs) goes in with him. What’s the message I’m trying to bring across with this post? There is a certain level of danger in the playground and there is only so much the staff there can do. I appeal for you to go in with your kids. The more adults there is inside, you can help watch out for other kids. Just for info, the balls were up to about my armpits when I’m standing, and I’m 1.72m tall. Yes. Well yes it was fun, just not entirely suitable for young kids. Adult supervision needed. Lots of it. :)Edit to add:1. The structures are really sound. No doubt about that. Even if so happens the net you are on, tears for some reason, there is a second net below so you won’t fall. The issue is more about the availability and vigilance of the staff to render help when needed. 2. In the newspaper articles that followed, the claim was that there are 2-3 first aid trained staff on each level during peak hours. We were there on a Saturday afternoon. Is that a peak hour? Because there was only 1 staff per level. And the staff’s duty was to oversee the slides and attention was definitely not on the ball pit. I hope they have increased the number of staff since. And not just the number, the quality. No use being first aid trained and not alert to surroundings. 3. Why is everyone saying “drowning” when it was never mentioned in the original article? ?#airzone #airzonesg #citysquaremall#embarassingmoment #jellylegs
Posted by Beautiful Chaos on Saturday, 3 February 2018
Have you or your child been stuck in a ball pit before? Tell us on Facebook!