Because you often see bounce houses at carnivals and backyard birthday parties, you might assume that these large, inflatable fun houses are suitable for children’s recreation. However, a recent event in New York involving three young children and a bounce house lifting off the ground has raised serious questions about whether these are unsafe products.
According to CNN.com, a strong gust of wind was blamed for lifting the bounce house off the ground while two boys, ages 5 and 6, played inside. A 10-year old girl fell out of the bounce house when it began to rise. The inflatable house quickly went 15 to 20 feet in the air.
Even though one of the boy’s parents blamed himself for the accident, a neighbor speaking to the press said that she had watched the parent do “everything right” in setting up the bounce house. Police say the bounce house was properly staked into the ground, and several adults were supervising the play, CNN.com reports.
The boys were transported to a local hospital. The 5-year old was put into a medically induced coma after the accident due to head injuries when he landed on a parked car. The 6-year old landed in the parking lot and suffered a ruptured spleen, two broken arms, broken jaw and damage to the eye socket.
Bounce House Manufacturer Vows to Investigate Incident
In addition to witnesses and police saying the house had been properly installed and staked down per the manufacturer’s guidelines, The Weather Channel reports that the winds in the area were relatively calm that day. In other words, they were not so gusty as to raise red flags for the parents involved.
The bounce house in this particular case was a small personally owned model. It was estimated to be 8 by 8 feet. Little Tikes, the manufacturer of the bounce said, told NBC News that it was investigating what may have went wrong.
Study Reveals Bounce House Injuries Are Common
Though this may be the first time that many people are hearing about potential risks involved with bounce houses, it is far from the first accident involving one of these products.
A 2012 study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that as many as 30 children are treated every day in U.S. hospitals for bounce house injuries, which amounts to roughly one child every 45 minutes.
The study also found that the rate of injuries associated with these inflatable play houses has risen dramatically over the past 20 years. In fact, between 1995 and 2010, these injuries rose by 1,500 percent.
The youngest children are most likely to suffer broken bones and fractures, while teenagers are more likely to suffer sprains, according to the study.
While the rise in bounce house accidents may be attributed to their increased use overall, this does not excuse unsafe conditions for our children. Indeed, many child safety advocates say more needs to be done to get the bounce house industry under control.
You can go into nearly any town and find a rental company that will bring a bounce house to your home and even set it up for you. But there is no standardized training for these individuals, and there are no standard regulations for how the devices must be used.
What You Can Do for Your Child’s Safety in Bounce Houses
For your child’s sake, ensure you adhere to these bounce house safety tips:
- Have at least one adult monitoring the bounce house while it is in use.
- If more than one child is inside, ensure they are close in size.
- Limit bounce house use to children ages 6 and older.
- Do not allow horseplay, flipping, or somersaulting in the bounce house.
- Remove all jewelry and eye glasses before entering.
- Do not put a bounce house under trees or power lines.
- Make sure there is open space all around the bounce house.
- Ensure the bounce house is properly tethered and secure.
- If the wind picks up, clear the bounce house of all children.
By The Maher Law Firm