Bounce House Injuries are on the Rise

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I have three children ages 8, 5 and 2.  Bounce Houses are the norm at most birthday parties we go to or throw.  I think there is a level of responsibility that most parents need to take when they set up a bounce house for their child and their friends that isn’t always fulfilled.  I wonder if some of these tragedies could have been avoided if parents had policed the activity that goes on in the bounce house which includes prohibiting older children from jumping when younger kids are jumping.  Also, making sure there aren’t too many children in the bounce house at one time.  There always needs to be an adult watching what goes on.  I also think that some of these bounce house rental companies need to be responsible and refuse to rent when weather is an issue and could compromise the safety of the children using their bounce houses.  I know when we rent a bounce house, the company comes out and sets up the bounce house to insure the bounce house is properly staked into the ground and cannot move.  That being said, it seems like there is a current epidemic on bounce house injuries.  Will it get worse as the summer goes on?  Who knows but there are too many stories out there about bounce house tragedies.

MSN had an article recently related to bounce house injuries.  They noted that In mid-May, two upstate New York kindergartners playing in an inflatable bounce house were thrown into the sky and jettisoned from at least 15 feet in the air, one boy landing on a parked car and another on asphalt. A similar incident occurred this past Saturday, when a bounce house was picked up by strong gusts of wind and blown across a Colorado field with two children inside.Despite what may seem like a new rash of freak accidents, children with bounce-house injuries have been regular customers in the nation’s emergency rooms for years”and they’re only getting more frequent. Safety experts have been arguing for years that tougher safety guidelines need to be in place.

In 2012, a team led by the Center for Injury Research and Policy published the first comprehensive study of such injuries in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers found that there was a 15-fold increase in such injuries from 1995 to 2010, when 31 children per day on average were seen in emergency departments for œan inflatable bouncer-related injury. On average, they found that the patient was about seven years old, and most commonly sustained some kind of fracture or sprain to a leg or an arm. Almost 20% of the cases involved head and neck injuries. Kids usually got hurt while falling inside the bouncer”rather than out of it”often into another kid of a different size.

Part of the reason injuries are increasing appears to be a simple one: Bouncy houses and moonwalks and inflatable obstacle courses are not only more popular than they were two decades ago but also come in do-it-yourself-packages that parents can purchase and set up themselves.

Currently there are voluntary guidelines for how to set up and operate a bounce house set out by ASTM International. Nearly 20 states, Tewksbury says, have passed legislation making those guidelines mandatory, rules that cover everything from the number of attendants one must have present to how deeply stakes must be pounded into the ground and how strong winds can be before all children are forced to get out.

In the absence of strict guidelines in most states, the Child Injury Prevention Alliance has set out some best practices, like limiting bouncing to kids ages six and older and, ideally, only allowing one child to bounce at a time. The 2012 report found that injury patterns for kids were similar to those gotten on backyard trampolines.

What can you do to prevent these tragic injuries from happening.  Child Injury Prevention Alliance provides a wonderful checklist for parents to look over prior to their child getting into a bounce house.


INJURY PREVENTION TIPS

  • Limit bouncer use to children 6 years of age and older.
  • Only allow a bouncer to be used when an adult trained on safe bouncer use is present.
  • The safest way to use a bouncer is to have only one child on it at a time.
  • If more than one child will be on the bouncer at the same time, make sure that the children are about the same age and size (weight).

PROPER USE

  • Take off shoes, eyeglasses and jewelry and remove all sharp objects from your pockets before entering the bouncer.
  • No rough play, tumbling, wrestling or flips. Stay away from the entrance or exit and the sides or walls of the bouncer while you are inside of it.
  • If the bouncer begins to lose air, stop play and carefully exit the bouncer.

The costs of medical care and pain and suffering related to bounce house injuries can be significant. If you or your child becomes injured, call an attorney so your rights can be protected. At  Edwards & Ragatz, we help bounce house injury victims protect their rights. Call us today.

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