In its very first season, the show Modern Family had an episode which featured a catastrophic birthday party that ended with the deflation of a bounce house. Thankfully, any mishap was averted, as it usually works out in sitcom world. Of course, the same may not hold true in real life. Statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission tells us that as many as 4,900 accidents have occurred on bounce houses and other inflatable play areas between the years 1997 and 2004.
Between the years 2002 and 2005, as many as four deaths occurred as a result of bounce house accidents. These are the statistics that are often quoted when you ask a question about the safety of bounce houses. Well, the fact of the matter is that though there are so many accidents involving inflatable houses, if you follow the proper safety tips, these entertainment areas can be perfectly safe.
Safety of Bounce Houses
Bounce houses are known by a variety of names including inflatable castles, moon bounce, jolly jump, etc. These bounce areas are generally made of strong PVC and nylon and they are then inflated using an electric blowing machine. While with small punctures, there is no problem of deflation, with a bigger hole, the structure can collapse completely. In many countries, there are strict regulations regarding the renting and hiring of bounce houses. In the UK and the USA, cheaper varieties made of polyester are banned.
In Australia, there are extremely stringent rules in place regarding the construction of an inflatable castle. In the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it is mandatory that the bounce houses pass both engineering and safety standards before they are rented out. The question about the safety of a bounce house comes from not following proper safety tips. When you hire a bounce house for a birthday party, it is important that you ensure that they have passed any standards tests that have been set by the state authorities.
It is important that they be insured and that they have proper training in operating inflatable equipment. It is also important that they send supervisors along with the bounce house and tell the children what to do and what not to. Bounce houses and trampolines work in a similar fashion, the difference lying in the fact that safety tips while using the trampoline tell you that only one person should use it at a time.
With bounce houses there are many other things that you need to keep in mind and the following tips should help you to ensure that you have a good experience with a bounce house.
- When the operator is installing the inflatable castle, ensure that he places a tarp to protect the bottom of the house. Also ensure that the castle is weighed down with weights or with sandbags.
- After the house has been inflated, check to see that there are no holes, rips, or punctures of any kind. If the unit is sagging anywhere, then there are chances of a rip.
- If your garden area has any sprinklers installed, then ensure that they are all turned off.
- Ensure that the spot you place the bounce house in is an area that has grass so that there is no scare of the bounce house being ripped by stones and pebbles. Also ensure that there are no toys or twigs in the area.
- It is important that there is always adult supervision when children are playing in the bounce house.
- Do not allow kids who are younger than four years of age inside the bounce house as it can be a recipe for accidents.
- Ensure that you group kids according to their size so that you minimize any risk of injury. Also ensure that you do not cross the maximum capacity of the bounce house at any time.
- If there are high winds, then ensure that you do not allow the unit to run and you close it immediately.
If you have pets at home, then remember to keep them away from the inflatable houses. Also ask the kids to remove their shoes before they step in. Most parents question the safety of these inflatable castles. If proper precaution is taken and safety measures are followed, then inflatable castles can be exactly what they are intended to be; fun.