Posted by Fiona Cole on June 22, 2011
A video of a children’s “bounce house” on Long Island, N.Y., losing its tethering during a windy soccer tournament and blowing across the grass has gone viral. The frightening image of a bounce house cut loose has placed renewed attention on the need for utmost care and safety in the use of this popular addition to kids’ parties. About a dozen people were injured in the Long Island incident.
According to RideAccidents.com, during the past two months alone, at least ten inflatable houses which were rented out for private parties in the U.S. have either collapsed as a result of excessive weight, or have been cut loose by high winds. More than forty people have been injured as a result.
A spokesman for the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials, Jim Barber, said that the toys themselves are not the problem. Safety issues arise when the inflatables are not set up properly or supervised. “I wish this was a rarity, but it’s not. It happens all the time,” said Barber. “These are probably the most dangerous amusement devices they have.”
Owner of Family Fun Inflatables in Palm Bay, Florida, Doris Lugardo, pointed out the need to work with an established company when renting out inflatables. Lugardo said, “I think this incident shows, if anything, you need to deal with a reputable company.” She went on to add, “There are a lot of bounce house companies that tend to pop up every now and then and they don’t have the right licensing or insurance.”
Bounce houses are one of the most popular requests for children’s parties. They bring a lot of fun to the event and, more importantly, they are a great way to wear out the kids. But, as the Long Island incident reminds us all, vigilance is needed when it comes to ensuring the safety of our children in any situation.
So, next time you rent out an inflatable for a kids’ party, follow these three golden rules in order to maximize both fun and safety:
1] Only rent from a reputable company that is properly licensed and insured.
2] Make sure that the inflatable is set up correctly, and that weight and wind restrictions are observed.
3] Ensure that adult supervision is present at all times when children are playing inside the inflatable.