Dangers of Bounce Houses and Bounce House Injuries
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If you are not yet a parent, you may not be aware of the popularity of bounce houses, but they have become more and more common as kids’ entertainment in church meetings, fairs, malls, birthday parties, indoor playgrounds and parks. This increasingly popular option for outdoor fun comes with a risk of serious injuries.
Medical emergency pediatrician Gary Smith of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH launched the first study to find out how many bounce house accidents occurred in the country in the last two decades and found that the number of bounce house injuries have skyrocketed. Bounce houses, which also known as inflatable houses or inflatable bouncers, are great fun for kids and a hit at outdoor parties, but the question remains: Are bounce houses safe?
If your child has suffered a bounce house injury due to the lack bounce house safety rules, it is in your best interest to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney like those at Avrek Law Firm. An attorney will help to assess your situation, as well as help you get the maximum compensation for your child’s injuries.
My Kid Was Injured in a Bounce House. Can I Sue?
When you or your child has suffered from bounce house injuries, you may be able to sue the owner or operator of the bounce house for negligence. In order to prove negligence, you’ll have to show that the responsible party breached a duty of care which led to your child being injured.
Typically, the bounce house operator would have a duty to behave like any reasonably prudent person would act. This would involve following bounce house safety rules, which includes managing the number of kids allowed at one time in the bounce house, not allowing rough housing among the kids, and ensuring equipment is set up properly, etc.
Bounce House Injuries and Statistics
The study Inflatable Bouncers in the United States, 1990-2010, (from December 2012 issue of Pediatrics) found that from 1990 to 2010 more than 64,000 children were treated in emergency rooms all across the USA for injuries related to inflatable bounce houses. Additionally, the rate of these accidents is significantly increasing – from 2008 to 2010, the number of injuries related to bounce houses more than doubled, to an average of 31 injured toddlers per day.
As is the case with trampolines, inflatable bounce houses are not safe. In recent years, a number of accidents involving inflatable play houses have been reported. Although they seem harmless, bounce house accidents can occur due to falls, ignoring the instructions and rules, or the actual installations, and can cause injuries such as sprains, whiplash, fractures, abrasions and head injuries.
Strong winds and bad anchors can cause the equipment to collapse or to be blown away, which can cause several accidents, some of them fatal. Although these inflatable bounce houses are manufactured with wind safety in mind, they are not always inspected or well-regulated.
In addition to bounce house safety rules, there are guidelines or standards for their installation, appropriate anchoring methods, weight limits and safe operating protocols, including instructions on the weather conditions to be avoided. Not all states need an inspection certificate before putting these inflatable bounce houses into operation. This leads to inadequate facilities, which also leads to more accidents.
Before Buying or Renting an Inflatable Bounce House – Read Below:
- Review the provider’s rules on how to operate the equipment. The equipment should include detailed instructions on weight and operating guidelines. If this information is not included, think twice.
- Ask the provider for records of bounce house accidents/incidents that have occurred in the past and what measures were taken to prevent them afterwards.
- If you rent an inflatable bounce house from a provider, you should ask them to report any accidents, even those that look “silly,” so that better instructions can be given.
- Be wary if they tell you that they have never had accidents. Accidents such as bumps, bruises, sprains and even broken bones are to be expected in any boisterous or loud activity in which children are involved.
- Check that your provider has a trained person who reviews your inflatable equipment annually. They must present evidence of any report, if requested.
Bounce House Safety Rules and Guidelines
It is important to follow recommended guidelines for safe installation of a bounce house, including anchorage. Here are some to safety rules to note:
- Inflatable bounce houses must be installed away from fences, gardens, branches, etc., which can be dangerous for toddlers if they are thrown on them
- Ask your provider for the age range of the bounce house you are using; also consider restricting its use for children over 6 years of age
- Children should not wear shoes, glasses or jewelry when using the bounce house
- Remove any sharp objects (pens, keys) from the child’s pockets/hands before allowing them to play (they could cause puncture wounds)
- Do not allow children of remarkably different sizes to jump into the bounce house at the same time – younger children run the risk of injury by colliding or falling under older children
- Do not allow adults or children to exceed the weight or height for which the equipment was designed
- Do not enter the inflatable house with food, beverages, bottles or glass objects
- Keep supervision at all times. If you cannot maintain this, the bounce house should be deflated and moved to another location which allows for this – supervision means constantly observing and not just being near the area
- Children should be advised not to push other children into the inflatable house – this is extremely important to avoid broken arms and legs
- If the inflatable house is the type that has walls, children should not be allowed to bounce against walls and collide with one another – this can lead to collision injuries
- Follow the advice given about the maximum number of children allowed at any time and let them in and out at intervals in a controlled manner
- Children should not be allowed to ride outside walls – do not let allow tumbling or rough play
When the weather is nice outside, inflatable bounce houses and trampolines often seem to be an element of more fun for many water parks, amusement parks, restaurants, outdoor parties, or even as a permanent place in the backyard for children. However, beware of the risks this gaming equipment can pose so you are able to take appropriate measures to minimize accidents because in just a few seconds or minutes this inflatable bouncing house can go from being totally fun to a terrible nightmare.
Homeowner’s Insurance on a Bounce House
Small providers of bounce houses in California that are not properly insured can come with exemptions in hand, which could hold the homeowner liable for additional damages. Homeowner’s insurance covers bounce house injuries on the property, with basic plans that provide $100,000 in liability coverage.
Having a bounce house in your party or family reunion exposes you, the owner, to a significant amount of risk. So, while has almost become a tradition for toddlers to expect a bounce house in which to jump at parties, it could be a better option for you just to look for safer alternatives, both for your children and your wallet.
If you do decide to rent a bounce house for your next gathering, be prepared to call a personal injury lawyer in the event of a bounce house accident or a lawsuit resulting from it. The track record of Avrek Law’s legal team speaks for itself with more than $1 Billion recovered for clients. Contact us for a free consultation on your bounce house injury claim – we’re here to help!