This sad story has been all over different news agencies this past week. This past Monday in Fort Lauderdale, three children were injured when a waterspout came onshore and lifted the inflatable bounce house they were in, authorities said. The house was swept across a parking lot into a roadway, according to local police. The National Weather Service in Miami reported that one adult was also injured and that one of the three children was seriously hurt.
Injuries in bounce houses are not uncommon.
A study by Dr. Gary Smith of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that the number of bounce house-related injuries rose 1,500% from 1995 to 2010. From 2008 to 2010, the rate of injuries more than doubled, according to the study. In 2010, 31 children were treated in emergency departments each day on average . “That’s about one child every 45 minutes,” Smith, who is the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said at the time. Smith said the pattern of injuries from inflatable bounce houses is similar to injuries suffered from trampoline use. But while there are national safety guidelines for trampolines, there are none for inflatable bounce houses.
Child Injury Prevention Alliance gives great tips on what people can do if you are going to use an inflatable 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).
- 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.
SETTING UP AN INFLATABLE BOUNCER
Outside set up:
- Place the bouncer on a flat surface.
- Remove all rocks, sticks or objects such as sprinkler systems sticking up from the ground before setting up the bouncer.
- Make sure there is open space around all sides of the bouncer.
- Place the bouncer away from tree branches or power lines.
- If the bouncer will be set up on a hard surface, place a soft surface around the entrance/exit to the bouncer.
Inside set up:
- Only set up bouncers in rooms where the ceiling is several feet above the top of the bouncer.
- Place the bouncer away from walls.
- If the bouncer will be set up in a room with hard floors, place a soft surface around the entrance/exit to the bouncer.