November 27, 2012 — In the last decade, the number of children who have been injured while playing in bounce houses has skyrocketed. In 1995, fewer than 1,000 children under age 17 were treated in the emergency room for injuries in a bounce house. In 2010, nearly 11,000 children went to the emergency room. The number of injuries has also doubled since 2008.
Most of the injuries were minor, but 3% of children required hospitalization, often for head trauma. More than one-third of the injuries were in children under 5 years old. The study also found 4 reports of death between 2003 and 2007, which occurred when the children hit their head on a hard surface.
In most cases, parents of children who were injured in a bounce house cannot file a lawsuit against the rental company due to complex liability waivers that protect these companies against inevitable injuries.
In some cases, however, parents have filed lawsuits against the organizers of events that did not properly inflate, secure, or supervise a bounce house. There are many videos online showing what can happen when a bounce house is not tied down on a windy day. The inflated play-house can tumble away in the wind and cause severe injuries for children who are playing inside. The liability in these cases is still debatable, however. Another lawsuit was filed in California in 2010, which alleged that the vinyl in bounce-houses contained unsafe levels of lead.
In most cases, serious injuries occur when the bounce house is placed too close to a wall or hard surface. Children who bounce out of the play-house can suffer broken arms, lacerations, or even life-threatening head injuries.
Most experts recommend that parents provide careful supervision of children who are playing in bounce-houses. Only children of similar size and athletic ability should be allowed to play inside a bounce house at the same time. Parents should limit the number of children allowed in the bounce house to prevent collisions. Parents should also prevent collisions when children are going down slides or other parts of the bounce house.
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