Last May, five teenagers were injured at Zillah High School after a bounce house flew into the sky with a gust of wind. At least one student was critically injured and airlifted to a nearby hospital. This news was shocking to most people, as bounce houses are often associated with good-hearted fun.
Inflatable attractions like bounce houses may seem harmless, but they can be dangerous and are less regulated than other family attractions, like roller-coasters. In the last 20 years, injuries from inflatable attractions have skyrocketed from 5,311 in 2003 to 17,377 in 2013, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
What happened in Zillah is more common than you might think. Over 90% of injuries from inflatable attractions are in bounce houses, and nearly nine out of 10 injured are 14 years old or younger.
In addition to the risk of being blown away, parents often mistake a bounce house as a babysitter and fail to properly supervise the kids playing. Allowing too many children to bounce at once, for example, is a recipe for injuries. If the generator pumping air to inflate the bounce house fails and the structure collapses, small children can be trapped under the massive weight of the structure. According to a PBS News Hour story, children have gotten caught underneath an inflated bounce house where parents are unable to hear screams for help, or have been blown into the air, then dropped violently by high gusts of wind, and have been injured or died as a result.
If you’re considering renting a bounce house or allowing your child to play in one, be aware of the risks. Make sure the bounce house is tightly secured to the ground, and forego it altogether on a windy day. Always have eyes on the kids with at least one adult supervising at all times. 43% of injuries occurred with no adult supervision. Also, don’t allow larger children or adults to bounce with young children. In 2007, a three-year-old girl was inadvertently crushed to death by two adults in a bounce house. A staggering 52% of injuries occurred when children of different ages were bouncing together.
When something goes wrong, who may be liable for injuries to your child? The answer depends on the facts of each specific case. Those who may potentially be liable include the bounce house rental company, the individual who rented the structure, or potentially the manufacturer. If you are considering hosting a party with an inflatable structure, be sure your home owner’s insurance does not have an exclusion of coverage for an injury from a bounce house.
If your child was injured in a bounce house, call Abeyta Nelson Injury Law for a free case consultation. We can discuss the specifics of your case to investigate all potential sources for recovering compensation. There is never a fee to discuss your case with us, and no attorney fee unless we win your case.
-blog written by attorney Maggie Lund, Abeyta Nelson Injury Law