Bounce Houses: Safe Or Not?
Miley Legal Group
With the recent uptick in news reports referencing bounce houses at local events are being swept into the air resulting in numerous injuries, it is essential that parents understand the safety hazards and what to do if their child becomes a victim on one of these incidents.
Inflatable bounce houses and other large inflatable activity equipment have increasingly been the “go to” for birthday parties and other public events. Not many have given a second thought to the safety of this equipment until recently when more and more reports are surfacing, with video, where the bounce houses are being thrown in the air. In fact, many families across the country are experiencing first-hand the dangers of these fun and exciting toys.
In 2014, two boys from upstate New York were seriously injured when the bounce house they were in was blown into the air, and both fell out. One landed on a parked car, hitting his head and the other landed in the street resulting in multiple broken bones. In an incident last year, five children in South Carolina were injured after a bounce house at a local church event was swept into the air by a gust of wind. In both instances, the bounce houses were not appropriately secured to the ground.
For parents to ensure the safety of your children when using bounce houses at events and birthday parties, parents should make sure that the device is secured to the ground with multiple safety straps and other items. Experts report that the stakes holding the bounce house down should be at a minimum of 18 inches long and hammered deep into the ground. If the bounce house is in a parking lot or on other hard surfaces, sandbags should be used to weight it down, and quite a bit of them.
We would suggest that if parents or local groups plan to utilize bounce houses as part of the entertainment for an event that they use professional companies to supply the material and that they assure that each bounce house is secured to avoid any potential disasters. Keep in mind also that most experts maintain that weather that involves wind gusts of 15 to 20 miles per hour should be a sign to shut down bounce houses and find other means of entertainment for your guests.
If a tragedy does strike, it is also vital for parents to understand what their rights are in the aftermath of the event. If your child is injured in a bounce house during a public or private event, it is essential to consult with an attorney to understand what your rights are. Keep in mind that many accident victims are concerned with “suing a friend,” however it is important to note that in most cases it is an insurance company that they are up against and not necessarily the person who may have been responsible for the accident.