Many people don’t like to imagine that an inflatable bounce house party could result in a kid suffering from a serious injury, but it has been a reality for some families. The latest government data reveals that accidents involving inflatable amusement devices have been on the increase in recent years. Publicly available emergency room data from 2012 reports that over 18,800 injuries occurred during the year as a result of bounce houses.
Inflatable bounce amusements pose a wide range of risks. In New Zealand, for example, it was recently reported that a young boy attending a summer party became trapped in the matting on the underside of a summer bounce house. Fortunately, the boy’s father heard his son’s screams and was able to rescue him before he suffered from any injuries.
Another incident of a bounce house accident occurred on May 2014 in New York. During the incident, the wind lifted a bounce house over one hundred feet into the air with two boys inside. The house fell 20 feet onto hard asphalt and a parked car resulting in some severe injuries for the two boys trapped inside. The incident happened despite manufacturers guidelines instructing that inflatables should be anchored to the ground and not occupied during extreme weather conditions.
While major incidents that make the international news are somewhat rare, lots of injuries can occur inside bounce houses themselves. Jumpers can land the wrong way while bouncing and end up fracturing a bone or causing injury to another child. Adult supervision is paramount to reduce injuries during bounce house parties for kids.
It’s important to note that the number of injuries related to inflatable amusements still pales in comparison to injuries caused by skateboards and outdoor playground equipment. Commercial bounce houses have remained a popular attraction at fairs, festivals, and carnivals for decades, yet established safety standards were only introduced in 2004. At-home inflatables received safety standard guidelines a few years later. The federal government is not responsible for regulating inflatable kids amusements. State and local jurisdictions determine what guidelines exist around the use of the devices.
Many parents are now pushing for all bounce houses to come with huge external safety labels that warn about the risk of injuries. A moon bounce can be lots of fun, but it’s important to be aware of the risk of injury. Human error is known to be one of the biggest causes of accidents.