Bounce house safety questioned after two swept away
Posted May 14, 2014
Inflatable bounce houses and moon walks are extremely popular for kids parties and summer carnivals, but their safety recently came into question after one was swept into the air with children in it, seriously injuring two boys, ages 5 and 6.
The incident, which occurred Monday in New York, involved an inflatable bounce house not intended for commercial use.
Safety experts and bounce house operators stress that inflatables should never be used in windy conditions. Just like Monday’s incident, with a good wind gust, even properly secured devices can rip free.
But the biggest risk of injury comes from inside the bounce houses, according to a study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio. More than 30 children per day were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries involving inflatable bouncers in 2010, researchers found. Most were for broken or sprained bones, but one in five children were treated for head or neck injuries.
Besides supervision, other safety rules include:
- Sort riders by size.
- Restrict use to children 6 years and older
- Never exceed recommended capacity
- Make riders remove their shoes
In North Carolina, commercial inflatables are inspected and tagged once a year. Parents should review the tag before allowing their children to play in an inflatable device.
While there will be accidents – a 10-year-old girl was treated at WakeMed last week for a leg injury suffered in a bounce house – Jeff Kelly of Triangle Moonwalks in Apex said he has not seen any injuries from the 790 events he had last year.