Bounce houses of one type or another have been around for a long time. In fact, some of us first saw smaller versions of them inside restaurants designed for kids and their parents years ago. Then they became freestanding devices often rented for children’s parties – or incorporated into outdoor festivals and other family-friendly events.
Today, the bounce house industry has continued to grow. Yet now that many more bounce houses are turning up in our cities and neighborhoods, we must make sure that our kids obey certain safety guidelines – while attentive adults supervise all of the play.
Here’s a look at some of the more worrisome bounce house events of recent years, along with information about what you must look for when deciding whether a specific bounce house is safe enough for your child.
Bounce Houses and Similar Structures – Still Often Involved with Many Injuries
The year 2014 was not a good one for the bounce house industry. In fact, a March 2016 CNN report states that one bounce house back then was swept away by large gusts of wind in South Glenn Falls, New York. The two young boys playing inside were seriously injured.
Later that same year, a “bouncy slide” in Littleton, Colorado wound up being blow 200 or 300 feet from where it had been set up. Fortunately, the children playing on top of that inflatable slide were not harmed.
Yet one of the worst bounce house events imaginable happened earlier this year over in England. During an Easter fair in Essex, England, a little seven-year-old girl died as a result of injuries sustained when the “bouncy castle” she was playing on was swept away by heavy winds. This tragedy has obviously renewed parental concerns all over the world about these type of structures.
Available Statistics Are Rather Upsetting
Concerned parents may want to visit the HealthyChildren website by the American Academy of Pediatrics. That group has tried hard to educate concerned parents about bounce house dangers. In one of its articles, it states that back between 1990 and 2010, more than 64,000 children were injured while playing in “bounce house” structures. That website also provides useful tips for parents who want to teach their children how to play safely in or around these types of structures.
Ways to Minimize Bounce House Injuries for Your Children
Age considerations. Many parents won’t even allow their child to play in or around one of these “houses” until s/he is at least six years old;
Be careful about what your child is wearing. Make sure your child never wears a pair of glasses while playing in a bounce house – assuming that s/he can still see well enough to avoid falling or bumping into others due to vision problems. Likewise, kids should never wear any shoes or jewelry while playing in these structures;
No food or drinks should be consumed. If these are spilled, you can be sure your child or others will soon slip or fall, possibly causing a serious injury;
All sharp objects must be removed from pockets in advance. Make sure your child doesn’t carry a fountain pen or any other sharp object in a pocket while playing in a bounce house. These can easily wind up injuring your child or others;
Only children of the same size should play together at the same time. Smaller children are at too great a risk of falling underneath the larger kids. Make sure you tell every child that no rough play will be tolerated — especially pushing and shoving;
All bounce houses must be deflated when not in use and being supervised. If you fail to do this – you are leaving open a dangerous temptation to kids of all ages;
At least one or two adults must observe all bounce house activities at all times. Parents cannot afford to stand around visiting with each other while supervising this type of activity – they must keep their eyes glued on the children’s activities at all times;
Never put up a bounce house if the weather looks bad or threatening. Large gusts of wind often play a role in the worst injuries children suffer while playing in or around bounce houses;
Be sure to hire knowledgeable workers to put up and take down your bounce house. They must know how to use the special types of ground stakes required.
While the list above is not intended to be comprehensive, it still offers parents some useful safety tips. Finally, always carefully review any rental company’s current insurance policy — and ask to see its current state inspection sticker (or paperwork) – indicating its right to provide this type of equipment to you and others.
If your child suffers an injury involving a bouncy house or any inflatable structure in Houston or anywhere in the state of Texas, call a Board Certified personal injury specializing in personal injury to evaluate your potential claim.