I read yesterday about a horrible accident near Glens Falls NY. According to the report the bounce house was tied down but still a gust of wind sent the inflatable flying and several children were injured. If not installed to the exact manufacturer specifications - any product can potentially be dangerous. I knew bounce houses were perceived to be dangerous from the insurance standpoint because I had heard about accidents like this before. Also a very common accident is head injury from simply falling out of the bounce house. Trampolines are also very dangerous and often prohibited by homeowner insurance companies.
According to CNN and the director of the Center for Injury and Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital, In 2010 alone 31 children were treated in emergency room visits A DAY across the country! That's one child approximately every 45 minutes! 1 in 5 had head and neck injuries and about 3% had to be hospitalized. Its an accident, and accidents can happen. There are currently no national safety guidelines for inflatable bounce houses. There are national standards for trampolines and the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against recreational use of trampolines.
Here are a few safety tips that I hope will help eliminate future inflatable recreation injuries and accidents:
1) Read the manufacturers instructions and information provided very carefully. Don't skip over a part that doesn't look important or you think you may already know. If a manufacturer is aware of a danger with the product they will mention it in the instructions and caution you.
2) Always use adult supervision. I don't mean when just installing the product. I mean while it is in use. Have an adult or have more than one adult take turns standing on the outside and supervising the fun. You should really have one hand on it at all times.
3) Based on developmental abilities the Child Injury Prevention Alliance recommends inflatable bouncers be used by children 6 years of age and older,
4) The safest way to use a bouncer is to allow only one child at a time. If more than one child are present, try to be sure they are the same age and size (weight).
5) No rough play - flips, wrestling, or sommersaults. Stay clear of the sides and entry and exit area as well. You should also have something soft at the entry and exit area.
6) Remove shoes, jewelry, eyeglasses, and items from your pockets before entering.
7) Place the bouncer on a flat surface, clear of rocks, sticks, sprinklers and debris. Be sure the bouncer is clear on all sides.
8) If bouncer begins to lose air, exit the bouncer quickly and carefully.
For more tips about use of inflatable bouncers before, during and after play visit the Child Injury Prevention Alliance.
You can also download their fact sheet here.
If you are thinking of purchasing a bounce house please review the Child Injury Prevention Alliance Infographic before making a decision: