Are Hot Air Balloons Safe for Kids?
Ballooning is a thrilling experience, but are hot air balloons safe for kids? Are children allowed on balloon rides? Here’s everything you need to know.
Keyword(s): are hot air balloons safe
When you think of hot air balloons, the first thing that most likely comes to mind is drifting high in the sky, enjoying the view and exhilaration that comes from the perspective of a bird’s eye view.
While this seems like an event that anyone in the family can enjoy, the reality is that there are some elements of hot air ballooning that might give parents some concern.
That’s why today, we’re exploring the question, “Are hot air balloons safe for kids?”
From height concerns to the burner issue, we’ll explore the different aspects of the ballooning experience, and investigate some of the potential concerns you may have for your pike-sized adventurers.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Heights and Tykes: Anxiety Over Ascension
Depending on the age of your child, if you’re wondering, “Are hot air balloons safe?” you’re probably thinking first and foremost of the height element.
After all, the average height that a recreational hot air balloon reaches is between treetop level to around 3,000 feet.
By any measure, that’s a substantial distance from the ground! Yet, space below can be magnified to little eyes. Along with worry that your child may become anxious over being so high up, you might fear that he or she will become dangerously fidgety during the ride.
To this end, it’s important to remember that kids around age 6 or younger will most likely be too short to see over the basket. The basket, which is typically made of wicker, will have sides around four feet tall.
Children may also be unable to reach the top of the basket to safely hold on. Ideally, your child should be at least six inches taller than the top of the basket to stay comfortably attached to it.
As such, it’s best to leave them at home or with a trusted confidant while you enjoy these sightseeing trips. In fact, most hot air balloon companies set age 6
as their age limit for flying due to this very reason.
The Time Issue: Avoiding Risky Boredom
Another issue you’ll want to be mindful of when asking “are hot air balloons safe?” is the timeline of the flight.
Most hot air balloon companies will conduct a pre-flight briefing to make sure everyone understands how the flight works, what will occur, and how to stay safe. This is essential to helping everyone involved stay as protected and secure as possible.
This briefing can last between 15 minutes or up to an hour, depending on the duration and level of the flight.
Then, after the briefing, it’s time to hop in! Most flights average around one hour in length.
Young children can easily become distracted or fussy during these time periods. Remember, a hot air balloon ride requires lots of standing!
If a tantrum occurs on the ground, that’s one thing. Yet, if it hits mid-flight, it could become difficult to contain your child inside the basket, especially considering that many regulatory administrations worldwide, including the Federal Aviation Administration, do not allow parents to hold their children during a hot air balloon flight.
Not only could this become distracting to the other flyers, it could also dangerously disturb the pilot.
To this end, if your child is deemed old enough to ride, consider next whether he or she is emotionally mature enough to handle the extended periods of inactivity — and to not just endure them, but to actively listen and understand.
Concern over the Burner: Too Much Heat and Noise?
Another element of the flight that you might not think of immediately, but that deserves attention is the balloon’s burner.
Any discussion of “are hot air balloons safe?” should include an overview of what the burner does, and how a child might react to it.
Put simply, the burner is used to heat up the air that inflates the balloon. It’s typically fired by liquid propane gas.
To control the balloon’s height, the pilot will release some of the hot air from a vent at the top of the balloon. This will cause the balloon to dip slightly as required.
For those who haven’t taken a balloon ride before, the burner can be one of the most unexpected parts of the experience. It’s loud and the flame is significant in size, reaching up to 15 feet in length!
Some adults might find this part intriguing. Yet, it can be especially upsetting for a young child, especially one who doesn’t expect the burner when he or she arrives at the flight.
This could trigger anxiety or other emotional outbursts. These, in turn, could make the hot air balloon experience less safe (and enjoyable) for those involved.
If your child has clearance to come based on age, and you’re sure he or she can stand for a long period of time without complaint, a final consideration should be whether or not your child will be frightened or taken aback by the burner.
Are Hot Air Balloons Safe? Final Things to Remember
Your chosen hot air balloon company will be able to better guide you on the age requirements and restrictions for your flight. These tips are shared as general guidelines as you plan your next high-flying adventure.
If your child is age-appropriate to enter the basket, you’ll want to examine the flight piece-by-piece.
As you do so, consider the reaction each part will evoke from him or her. You may also find it valuable to discuss the experience with your child beforehand. This can be a great way to explain everything upfront so there are no unwelcome surprises.
Then, if you’re comfortable setting sail with your child by your side, then enjoy the thrill and make those special memories together!
Take Flight Today: Your Hot Air Balloon Guide and Resource
Are you ready to learn more about how to book your next hot air balloon flight? If so, we’d love to help get you in the air!
We provide a top-quality flight program that allows riders the chance to see their favorite vistas from an entirely new point-of-view.
Whether you’re an individual, family, or group, we offer a ballooning experience for everyone.
Feel free to contact us today and let’s take off together!