Accident in High Winds Puts Bounce House Safety Under Scrutiny
Bounce Houses are popular during the summer months with kids. Bouncing is an ideal way to keep children occupied during parties and to let off steam. However, a series of terrifying accidents has raised questions about bounce house safety.
In May, the wind blew a bounce house with a child inside it onto a highway in California. When law enforcement agencies responded to reports of a traffic incident on U.S. Route 395 in Adelanto, California, they found a bounce house on the road, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Alarmingly, a 9-year-old boy was still inside the bounce house. Fortunately, he was not injured, although he was shaken up.
Many children are not so lucky. As attractions like bounce houses, obstacle courses and slides increase in popularity, injuries to children have spiked, reported USA Today.
While these kinds of attractions appear less dangerous than roller coasters and play equipment, they can be just as hazardous and are less well regulated.
Bounce House Safety – How Many Children Are Injured in Bounce Houses?
The estimated number of injuries associated with bounce houses and slides rose from 5,311 in 2003 to 17,377 in 2013, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. By 2016, more than 20,700 injuries were reported.
Some of the most high profile accidents involving bounce houses entailed winds taking hold of the inflatable structures.
In 2015 at Fort Lauderdale Beach in Florida, a tornado picked up a bounce house and pulled it up into the air, injuring three children.
A girl in China was killed after a bouncy castle was blown into the air. In Spain, a girl died after a bounce house was taken up into the air by a gust of wind and exploded.
Manufacturer guidelines say that people should always anchor inflatables and stop playing in them if inclement weather arises.
How Do Most Bounce House Accidents Occur?
Notwithstanding high profile incidents when winds take hold of inflatables, most accidents occur within the bounce house.
Typically, children fall inside the bouncer and fracture an arm or leg or crash into another child, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics.
While the estimated number of inflatable amusement-related injuries has steadily increased in recent years, it still pales in comparison compared to playground equipment or skateboards.
On average, more than 270,000 estimated injuries a year are linked to playground activity. Skateboards are connected to more than 114,000 estimated injuries, according to official data.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Bounce House Accidents?
When a child breaks a limb while bouncing, liability may be difficult to establish. People who bounce are generally assuming some risk of injury when they enter a bounce house.
Often, adults and parents may be required to sign liability waivers that cover ordinary, expected injuries like sprains bumps and bruises. However, waivers are not always enforceable, particularly if there is negligence on the behalf of an operator.
If a bounce house is blown away or deflates, a private operator may be liable for not trying it down properly, not inflating it properly or allowing children to use it in bad weather.
In cases where someone is injured in a backyard bounce house, the homeowner may be held liable under the theory of premises liability. The manufacturer of a defective bounce house may be sued under the law of product liability.
These arguments can be complicated. It makes sense to hire an experienced injury lawyer if your child is hurt this summer at a bounce house in Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk or elsewhere. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (757) 455-0077.