The Dangers of Bounce Houses
A frequent sight at carnivals, fairs and children’s birthday parties are colorful bounce houses. The huge inflatable objects are popular with children, but just how dangerous are these items and what liabilities do the people who provide them at these events have when children are hurt? According to national statics, the number of children injured from bounce houses every year is 11,000. The average age of the patient is 7 years old and the most common injuries are sprains or broken bones. Approximately 20 percent of the injuries involve the head or neck. However, the numbers of injuries that are occurring are increasing, as is the seriousness of the injuries. As one child health advocate put it, “If this were a disease, it would be considered an epidemic.” Over the past several months, there have been reports of tragic bounce house accidents in New York and Colorado. In both incidents, the bounce houses were swept up in gust of winds and left the children critically injured. Another bounce house accident occurred in New Hampshire, where again, a bounce house was blown away with children inside of it. The victims in the latest incident were a two year old boy, who has been listed in critical condition from the incident, and a three year old boy who was hospitalized with serious injuries. Since many of these bounce houses are in use at private events or homes, there is little regulation over the use of these devices. Safety advocates recommend that parents use the following guidelines:
- Do not allow children under the age of 6 years old to play in bounce houses.
- Ideally, there should only be one child at a time in the bounce house. However, if there is more than one, children should be of similar age and size.
- Do not allow children to rough-house, wrestle, do flips, etc., or any other dangerous play that could lead to injuries.
- Always make sure there is at least one adult present when children are in the bounce house.
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