A new report is warning that inflatable bounce houses are the source of an alarming number of injuries in children. The study found that 31 children a day, on average, are transported to emergency departments in the U.S. for bounce house-related injuries. These injuries include bone fractures and muscle damage. While many bounce house injuries are minor, three percent of injured children require hospitalization or observation. Personal Injury lawyers say that in some cases families of injured children may have a claim on the basis of negligence, premises liability, or product liability settlements.
The study was published online on November 26 and will appear in the December print issue of Pediatrics, a medical journal. Study researchers examined emergency department records. From these records they estimated that from 1990 to 2010, nearly 65,000 children sustained injuries in inflatable bounce houses. The average age of patients was 7.5 years, 28% of injuries were fractures, and 27% were strains or sprains.
Dr. Richard Schwend is a processor of orthopedics at University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ section on orthopedics. While Dr. Schwend says that the injuries generally appeared to be minor, he acknowledged the potential for more severe injures, stating, “I have seen cervical spine injury and paralysis when a child jumps headfirst and lands on the head.”
The study also stated that between 1995 and 2010, the rate of bounce house related injuries jumped 15-fold, with the last few of those years seeing the most rapid boost. Dr. Gary A. Smith, co-author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio stated, “If this was an infections disease, we’d call it an epidemic and it would be on the front pages all over the country.”
Indications that someone could be held liable for a child’s injury are:
- A lack of secure anchorage for the bouncy house.
- A lack of impact absorbing mats at the entrance/exit of the bounce house when not positioned on soft ground.
- A lack of adequate supervision at a public bounce house.
- A lack of enforcement of manufacturer guidelines or posted rules.