There is nothing quite like the huge smile across a child’s face when they see a giant inflatable bounce house. In shapes of clowns, princesses, or favorite super heroes, these massive playgrounds are adored by kids of all ages. Once reserved for only the wealthiest, today bounce house rentals are an affordable luxury enjoyed at birthday parties, local celebrations, and backyard barbeques.
With kids laughing and playing in these soft, inflatable play areas, the risk of injuries may not have crossed your mind. But it should.
Skyrocketing Bounce House-Related Injuries
Bounce house injuries have skyrocketed in the last decade. According to a recent study titled “Pediatric Inflatable Bouncer–Related Injuries in the United States, 1990–2010” by Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH et al, and published in the journal Pediatrics, bounce house injuries increased 1500% between 1995 and 2010. The study, also highlighted in a recent CNN article, states that each day over 30 children in the United States visit the emergency room for injuries sustained while playing in inflatable bounce houses.
These injuries resulted in 4,500 concussions and closed head injuries along with over 7,000 broken bones and 11,000 bumps and bruises. (Source: CNN “‘Bounce House'” Injuries Skyrocketing by Miriam Falco; Child Injury Prevention Alliance http://www.childinjurypreventionalliance.org/inflatablebouncers.aspx)
Like many other physical activities, inflatable bounce houses have some risks. While there are no official guidelines for the use of inflatables, the following recommendations from the Child Injury Prevention Alliance will provide safer enjoyment. (For a printable tip card and more information, please visit http://www.childinjurypreventionalliance.org/inflatablebouncers.aspx)
Prevent Inflatable Bounce House Injuries
- Remove shoes, glasses, hooded shirts, jewelry and any sharp objects from pockets prior to use.
- Always have an adult watching to ensure bounce house is fully inflated and monitor children for safe playing. Ensure that at least one adult on site is trained in bounce house safety before use.
- Allowing one child at a time is optimal; however, if more than one child will play, limit use to children of similar age and size.
- Prohibit horseplay, tumbling, wrestling, and flips/gymnastics moves.
- Stay away from openings, sides, and walls of bounce house.
- If inflatable starts to deflate, immediately and carefully exit.
Set Up the Bounce House Properly
- Inflate bounce house on flat surface after removing rocks, sticks or sprinkler heads.
- Set up inflatable far from tree branches, power lines, and phone lines, and make sure there is plenty of open space.
- Ensure that the exit area has a soft mat or grass.
- Ensure bounce house is properly secured to the ground.
- If you are setting a bounce house indoors, make sure to set up bounce house away from the walls and with plenty of feet above the top of the inflatable.
Adapted from Child Injury Prevention Alliance (http://www.childinjurypreventionalliance.org/inflatablebouncers.aspx)
If you are renting a bounce house, follow all rules provided by the owner/operator of the bounce house. Determine what type of insurance coverage they have and check with your insurance company to determine whether or not you have coverage under an umbrella policy.
If the bounce house doesn’t seem safe, appears to be deflating, is not properly secured to the ground, or if much bigger children are already playing inside, it’s your responsibility to use reasonable judgment to protect your child. If an injury does occur in a bounce house, seek emergency attention immediately.
If the injury was due to negligence on the part of the bounce house operator, owner, or manufacturer, there may be a potential legal case. In Fort Lauderdale, a bounce house was lifted off the ground by a waterspout this past Memorial Day. As a result, three children were taken to the hospital with injuries. This week, the attorney for one of the injured children sent legal notice to both the event company and the city of Fort Lauderdale indicating they may face legal action.
Do you have questions about liability related to injuries sustained at a birthday party, festival, or backyard celebration?
Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can answer them. Contact us at (954) 428-9333 or www.goldmandaszkal.com.
Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties. The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work. Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury. For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.