WHEN FUN TURNS TRAGIC: AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT BOUNCE HOUSE ACCIDENTS IN 2014
There have been a high number of bounce house accidents in the year 2014. Part of this is due to the fact that more and more people are choosing to own these inflatable fun houses privately. Despite proper set up and supervision in these cases, the fun houses are blown into the air by strong gusts of wind, sometimes in the direction of other people and sometimes when a child is still inside.
Owning a bounce house comes with its inherent risks; however, some of those risks are needlessly created by the corporations, owners, manufacturers and operators. Let’s take a look at the top bounce house injuries from 2014.
Two Boys Injured in Upstate New York
In May of 2014, three young children in Upstate New York fell nearly two stories after a gust of wind blew away the inflatable house that they were playing in. The playhouse was swept 15 to 20 feet into the air after a gust of wind came through the backyard. One of the young boys, age 6, landed in the middle of the street and was airlifted to a hospital in serious condition with broken bones. The second boy, age 5, fell out of the house and into a parking lot, banging his head on the back of a parked car on his way down. He suffered a serious head injury and was airlifted to the nearest medical center. The third child, a 10-year-old girl, was also injured with scrapes and a minor shoulder injury. A police investigation determined that the children were well supervised and that the inflated house was properly staked to the ground; however, the gust of wind proved to be too strong for the plastic stakes.
800-Pound Inflatable Playhouse Tossed 300-Feet in Colorado
In June, an inflatable fun house in Littleton Colorado was tossed 300 feet by a gust of wind. After the wind hit the inflated house, one young girl was immediately thrown out of the house but an 11-year-old boy stayed inside until the house was secure. It seemed that the house was properly staked into the ground, but the 800-pound bouncy house was blown away by 30 MPH wind.
Child in Kansas City Incurs Brain Injury in Inflatable House
Later in June, one child in Kansas City was injured in a bouncy house accident that, for once, did not have to do with high winds. The young boy, age 8, was having a great time playing in an inflatable playhouse with children one Saturday afternoon. Not long after leaving, however, his parents noticed him not acting like himself and took him to the hospital. Doctors discovered that the boy had bleeding outside of his brain, which was due to being knocked around with other kids. Sadly, better supervision could have prevented this from happening.
Inflatable Slide Flies into the Air in Nevada
During a 4th of July carnival in Sparks Nevada, a small dust devil blew an inflated slide 3 stories into the air. A child had just stepped off the slide moments before the whirlwind came through. The carnival workers had just finished their safety checks of the slide and were about to open it up to more kids. No children were on the slide as it blew away, but two bystanders were injured and hospitalized due to flying debris.
Toddlers Swept away in Bounce House in New Hampshire
Very recently, a toddler in New Hampshire was hospitalized after being swept 30 feet into the air in an inflated fun house. The house was said to have traveled 50 feet before it finally crashed. The 2-year-old boy was severely injured, while his 3-year-old brother suffered from less serious injuries. The accident occurred as a result of zero supervision, as the playhouse was not open to the public and not properly fastened to the ground.
The rise of bounce house accidents in the last several years has been alarming. Statistically, these accidents have risen 1,500% between 1995 and 2010. Researchers and officials have revealed that 31 children alone were injured per day in 2010, equating to one child injured by an inflatable house every 45 minutes. While some of these accidents cause only minor scrapes and bruises, others lead to traumatic injuries and hospitalizations.
What is to be taken away from these bounce house accidents? While owning an inflatable playhouse does come with risks, the injuries listed above were a result of fault on the part of the supervisor, operator, or manufacturer. In some cases, the playhouse was properly staked to the ground, but the stakes were made of materials not strong enough to withstand high winds. In others, the children were injured as a result of poor supervision or none at all.
*Image courtesy of Peter & Joyce Grace