Parents (and adults with a childlike sense of fun) need to be careful around bounce houses -- bounce houses, or "moon bounces" are loads of inflatable fun for everyone inside them, but they're also incredibly dangerous.
More than 82,000 injuries and 12 deaths are attributed to inflatables between 2008 and 2013, the majority of which were in bounce houses -- and this number doesn't even capture injuries that didn't require hospital trips. It's estimated that there are around 30 injuries per day in bounce houses.
If you're someplace that has a bounce house, make sure that these safety rules are in place:
- A commercial-grade bounce house should be used because they're safer than the cheap ones available in toy stores.
- Check to see that it's tightly secured to the ground with stakes.
- Nobody should be allowed inside a bounce house when it's windy. Bounce houses have been known to go airborne in strong winds.
- There should be limits on the number of people inside at once. Adults should be separated from big kids and the big kids separated from the small ones.
- Stunts like flips and leapfrogging should be prohibited. They're a major cause of neck and spinal injuries.
- Watch for signs of deflation. If the bounce house suddenly springs a leak and deflates, it can collapse on the people inside.
- Make sure that an adult is on duty at all times to enforce the rules.
What if your child does get hurt despite these safety precautions?
You're risking a few bruises even entering an inflatable, so you probably can't recover compensation for minor injuries. Additionally, liability waivers may also provide those who rent bounce houses some measure of protection from lawsuits.
However, a waiver may not stop a lawsuit if negligence is involved. Premises liability rules could make whoever hosted the event with the bounce house responsible for not making certain that the entertainment was safe. Not following the instructions when securing the bounce house or sitting idly by while kids did somersaults inside it, for example, could both be considered negligent acts.
The best thing to do after a bounce house injury is to talk to an attorney. He or she can help you determine if you have a claim for compensation and who should be held liable.
Source: The Washington Post, "Moon bounce injuries are more common than you might think. Here’s how to avoid them.," Elisabeth Leamy, July 13, 2017