Dr. Gary Smith, a pediatric emergency physician with Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, recently published a study concluding that bounce house personal injuries are on a huge rise. Dr. Smith gathered data nationwide based on emergency room visits. The study found that the number of injuries from inflatable rides and bounce houses rose 1,500% between 1995 and 2010. In 2008 to 2010, the rate of injuries more than doubled.
More than half of the injured children were in the between the ages of 6 and 12, and more than a third were under the age of 5. Arm and leg injuries were the most common injuries. The reported injuries included injuries caused when children collided on the inflatable, as well as injuries that occurred when children attempted to dismount.
Although some states have enacted regulations and licensing schemes, there are currently no national safety guidelines to aide in the proper use of inflatable bouncers. As a result, there is little uniformity in the industry with regards to safety practices. Some inflatables are operated with little regard to safety issues such as ensuring the children are old enough for the activity, separating older children from younger children, installing the inflatable in a safe location, and ensuring that the area for dismounting the ride meets basic playground safety standards. Powers Taylor LLP has represented families whose children have suffered bounce house injuries.