While they are a common staple at birthday parties and other celebrations and certainly look like fun, bouncy houses hold the potential for significant danger. Parents and caregivers often have a tendency to let their guard down during playtime. That, combined with inconsistent regulations governing bounce houses, can often create the ideal environment for little-known hazards to emerge.
Unfortunately, most parents never recognize that there could be serious concerns regarding safety when it comes to the fun-filled inflatable playhouses. Yet, dangers do exist. Among those dangers are the potential for bounce houses to be toppled by winds or even to collapse altogether under too much weight. RideAccidents.com, a website that tracks accidents involving amusement rides, reports that at least 10 such inflatables have succumbed to collapse or being blown over by winds. The website goes on to report that at least two deaths have resulted from such accidents.
The solution is not quite as simple as simply ceasing to use bounce houses, as the toys are not the issue. The real problem is the way in which such inflatables are often set up and then supervised while children are inside playing. In some states, operators are required to be trained on the use and supervision of inflatables, while in other states operators are simply required to carry insurance. Few states have guidelines.
While regulations and inspections of bounce houses are important, they will not reduce the number of accidents if they are not followed.
- Ensure that an adult supervises the children playing in the bounce house at all times.
- Have children remove shoes prior to entering the bounce house.
- Do not use the bounce house in heavy winds or rain.
- Ensure that the bounce house is properly secured to the ground.
- Do not exceed the maximum number of children allowed to play in the bounce house at one time.
- Keep the same age group of children inside the bounce house at all times. Do not pair up children of varying ages, as this presents a greater risk to younger children.