How a non-toxic foam pit was toxic to my weekend

Lets start by having you take a look at this foam pit we rented for my sons' birthday party:


Doesn't it look like a cavalcade of fun?  A birthday party's wet dream?  An outdoor utopia of laughs, high-fives and safe, family-friendly fun?  

Well, it wasn't any of those things.  

Why, you ask?  Let me count the ways:

  • The foam pit didn't work.  Basically the company we rented this from blew up the jumpy portion and then gave us brief instruction on how to get the foam flowing.  It looked simple enough: run a hose to a contraption that has another tube thingy on it, and when you're ready for foamy bubbles, stick the tube thingy in a big bucket of soap-like goo.  

    Easy enough, right?

    It all sounded fine and dandy except the goo-sucking tube thingy clogged or malfunctioned constantly, meaning we had eight-foot-high bubbles one minute, and nothing but air molecules the next.  I babysat this horky contraption for four hours.  Needless to say I did not have a smiley face on when the party was over.
  • It killed my neighbor's grass.  Although labeled as "safe, non-toxic" and totally harmless to anything, the foam-making goo clearly doesn't play nicely with grass:
  • It sent a kid to the ER.  One of my son's friends spent most of the day playing in the foam pit and had a bad reaction to the foam.  His eyes started getting itchy/irritated, and by early evening he had to go to the ER to get treated for something with the word conjunctivitis.  He had to have his eyes flushed several times and be on medications for a while as well.

To be fair, we voiced our complaints to the rental company and they were extremely apologetic and accommodating.  We were going to use this same foam pit for an upcoming event at our church, but cancelled the reservation after this less-than-pleasant experience.  However, the rental company is working with us to make things right by giving us a discount on - or possibly donate entirely - some jumpy equipment to the church gathering.  

So for next year's birthday parties, I think I'm gonna get out the good ol' fashion Slip and Slide and lay it over a bed of rocks!