GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-
They are were once most commonly found at fairs, but inflatable bounce houses are now popping in backyards for neighborhood gatherings.
But across the USA, Dr.Gary Smith from Nationwide Children’s Hospital found out that injuries are up 1,500 percent in a 15 year period.
In 2010 alone, 31 children were treated in emergency departments each day on average, according to the report. “That’s about one child every 45 minutes,” says Smith, who is the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Arm and leg injuries seem to be the most popular with the youngest children under 5, most likely to have fractures and teenagers were most likely to have sprains and strains.
“There’s a lot of the bad press that comes, it’s related to some of the retail based inflatable units that you can get at some of the larger box stores.” Ken Knapp, President of Grand Rapids Party Works said. His company rents out the popular inflatables.
The safest way for renters, is to have his company come out and deal with the setting up and taking down of the inflatable, he said. His crew would focus on the location of where it’s being set up, having it anchored properly and make sure that winds do not exceed 18 to 20 miles per hour.
“I think the biggest misunderstanding is that it’s a fun piece of equipment for the kids to play on while the parents have their own fun and they forget about it, it needs to be supervised.”
Dr. Smith found out that there are national safety guidelines for trampolines, but none for inflatables. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that an organization called ASTM is working on standards for “Constant Air Inflatable Play Devices”.
It’s recommended that kids under the age of 6 do not use the inflatables and only have kids that are the same weight and size playing in one together. Also, horseplay flips and somersaults should not be allowed.