Everyone loves bounce houses. In fact, for the last 10 years, our Florida children's accident lawyers have co-hosted The City of Coral Gables Annual Festival of Lights Menorah Lighting. This year's event occurs December 13, 2012 at Ponce Circle Park, in Coral Gables and is open to the public. In addition to the lighting of the City's Menorah, and passing out jelly donuts and other Hanukkah treats, we have always had a bounce house for the kids to enjoy. However, in light of a recent report highlighting the dangers of inflatable bounce houses, we may need to reconsider.
Bounce houses are simply more dangerous than one might expect. In 2010, 11,300 kids were taken to emergency rooms for bounce house related injuries. That is more than twice the number from 2008 and 16 times more than in 1995. According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio, a child is injured every 46 minutes in our country from a bounce house accident. Bounce house injuries are similar to those sustained by children using trampolines. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against any home or other recreational usage of trampolines unless it is part of a structured training program with appropriate safety measures employed.
In a recent report, published by the Pediatrics, researchers studied emergency department records and estimate that nearly 65,000 children were injured in bounce houses from 1990 to 2010. Patients were 7.5 years old on average, and the most common injuries were broken bones (28%) and strains or sprains (27%). Concussions and cuts are more common among boys than girls, with 3% requiring admission to a hospital. Most Florida bouncy castle injuries occur when one child falls on top of another child.
One reason that bounce house injuries are on the rise may be due in part to their increasing popularity. In Miami alone there are dozens of family run bounce house business that will deliver them to birthday parties, school events and even a Menorah Lighting. Bounce houses are inexpensive and can be purchased on line for a few hundred dollars. Unfortunately, many are poorly maintained and operated with virtually no supervision. Many vendors require parents to sign poorly worded waivers before their children are allowed to play.
Our Miami lawyers who sue for bounce house injuries recommend the following safety tips to keep your child bouncing and out of the emergency room:
1. Confirm that the bounce house is properly anchored on all four corners;
2. Confirm that impact absorbing mats are positioned at the open side of the bounce house for softer landings;
3. Confirm that there is at least one adult providing constant supervision to the children inside the bounce house - an attendant collecting tickets does not provide adequate supervision;
4. Confirm occupancy limits - the more crowded the bounce house, the more dangerous it can become;
5. Confirm ages - kids 2 to 3 years old should never be bouncing with children twice their size or age;
6. Confirm your child has removed any sharp objects from their pockets, such as pencils, pens or toys.
Bounce houses can be fun, but the increasing evidence proves they can also be very dangerous. As both a parent and Orlando theme park children's injury lawyer, I believe it is very important that all parents understand the risks associated with inflatable bounce houses and what happens when you are asked to sign a waiver.