Bounce House Risks Highlighted By Recent Accident That Seriously Injured Toddlers

Two young children from New Hampshire were recently injured in a bounce house accident, when a gust of wind sent the improperly secured inflatable jumping house dozens of feet into the air before it crashed to the ground. The incident highlights the growing concerns over the safety of bounce houses, which have been linked to increasing reports of injuries among toddlers and young children in recent years.

The two New Hampshire toddlers were injured on Sunday, one of them seriously, when a bounce house set up at a local farm was reportedly lifted 30 feet into the air. The inflated structure traveled approximately 50 to 60 feet down the farm before it crashed to the ground.

Reports suggest that a 2-year-old boy inside the jump house suffered critical injuries, requiring him to be airlifted to a Boston hospital. Another 3-year-old boy suffered more minor injuries, but required transport to a local hospital by ambulance.

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The State Fire Marshal told the local news that the farm owner indicated that the bounce house was blocked off with bales of hay, because it was not properly fastened to the ground with spikes or tethers. An investigation into the incident by state police is still undergoing.

However, similar reports of problems with bounce houses not being properly secured have been reported in recent months, and researchers have previously estimated that dozens of children are treated each day in emergency rooms nationwide for inflatable bouncer injuries.

The popularity of inflatable bounce houses in the United States has increased drastically over the last few years, with the devices showing up at more locations where proper safety standards may not be followed. Safety experts have been calling for tougher guidelines and regulations to ensure the safe operations of the jump houses.

Bounce House Injury Concerns

Health educator at the Child Injury Prevention Alliance, Tracy Mehan, released a statement to Time magazine suggesting that part of the reason injuries are on the rise are that bounce houses, moonwalks, and inflatable obstacle courses are not only found at public venues, but are also available in “do-it-yourself” kits. Mehan stated that inflatable bounce houses and similar products are surpassing the number of injuries that trampolines cause and that Americans need to start viewing the devices with equal wariness.

In 2012, the Center for Injury Research and Policy published their first comprehensive study of bounce house injuries in the medical journal Pediatrics, finding that there was a 15-fold increase in such injuries from 1995 to 2010, resulting on average 31 children per day being treated at the emergency room from bounce house related injuries. Those results were doubled between 2008 and 2010, when 11,300 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for bouncy house related injuries.

The most common injuries reported in the study were broken bones, bruises, and concussions. Almost 20% of the cases involved head or neck injuries and majority of those injuries occurred while the children were in the bounce house rather than when exiting.

In the study, researchers suggested that if government safety officials treated bounce house risks similar to a disease that causes 11,000 injuries per year, it would be considered an epidemic.

Many bounce house problems occur from children bouncing close to one another and the spring of the inflatable base causes children to knock heads of fall awkwardly onto other children’s legs creating a high risk injury situation. However, some injuries occur from what are considered “freak incidents” that are not really too farfetched, such as the most recent injuries to two young boys in New Hampshire.

In mid-May, two kindergartners in upstate New York were playing in an inflatable bounce house when it was lifted nearly 15 feet into the air by wind gusts, causing both boys to be ejected from the bounce house. One boy reportedly landed on a nearby vehicle and the other was dropped over the asphalt street. Witnesses claimed “It was like a horror movie, the bounce house just kept rising”.

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