5 On Your Side

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.

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  • Marley Higgins May 15, 2014
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    wral attempting to make a mountain out of a molehill again. from the content of the article, it sounds like bounce houses are very safe, as safe as any playground, at least. but once again, the title is so misleading as to seem a joke. good job, wral - pageclicks!

  • busyb97 May 15, 2014

    And how many injuries are treated for kids as a result of being on the playground at the park? You can get hurt walking across your yard- step in a hole, on a rock, etc...roll your leg and break an ankle. The % of kids hurt in the bouncy houses, vs the park is probably not even worth comparing. 1 injury in 790 (that's not even counting the number of kids at those events, so probably more like 1 child out of 15,000 kids at those 790 events (assume 20 per event)....pretty good numbers.)

    Point is, common sense helps, but you can't prevent everything. Be vigilant about watching the conditions (weather) and the people.