If you have children, chances are you’ve been to a party with bounce houses to occupy the kids (and some adults). Bounce houses are considered safer trampolines since they have walls and are more forgiving. Most bounce houses also have a net door to eliminate the possibility of falling out.
Bounce houses are generally constructed of strong PVC and nylon then inflated with an electric blowing machine. In the U.S., cheaper varieties made of polyester are banned. In the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it’s mandatory that bounce houses pass both engineering and safety standards before they are rented out.
According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, bounce house injuries are on the rise. More than 11,300 children were treated for bounce house related injuries in 2010. The authors from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH say that “equals a child every 46 minutes nationally.”
A majority of the injuries were fractures, sprains and strains, followed by injuries to the head, neck, and face. The most common cause of injury was falling, followed by colliding with other jumpers. These injuries are similar to trampoline injuries.
In addition to the most common causes of injuries, there’s an increase in number of injuries occurring because the bounce houses aren’t properly anchored to the ground. In June 2011, strong winds lifted three bounce houses off the ground at a youth soccer tournament in New York, injuring 13 children.
Here are safety tips for bounce houses that should help ensure that you have a good experience:
- Ensure the operator places a tarp down to protect the bottom of the house and that the bounce house is weighed down with weights or sandbags.
- After the house has been inflated, check to see that there are no holes, rips, or punctures of any kind.
- If applicable, make sure lawn sprinklers are turned off.
- Place the bounce house in an area that has grass so that there is no chance of the bounce house being ripped or punctured by stones or gravel.
- Always have adult supervision when children are playing in the bounce house.
- Recommended age for children is four years or older.
- Group kids according to their size so the risk of injury is minimized. Also, abide by the maximum capacity regulations for the specific house.
- If there are strong winds, do not use the bounce house.
- Keep pets away from the bounce house so they don’t puncture the unit with their teeth or claws.
If safety measures are followed and proper precautions have been taken, bounce houses can be exactly what they are intended to be; fun.