A bounce house was blown more than 50 feet in the air Monday, injuring three children who fell from the house as it was carried aloft.
The children were dumped from the airborne bounce house in South Glens Falls, New York, where a gust of wind freed it from its moorings. According to the Glens Falls Post-Star, two of the kids were at least 15 feet off the ground when thrown from the bounce house, and both suffered serious injuries.
Could this bounce house incident have been prevented, and who could potentially be liable for the children's injuries?
2 Boys Hospitalized in Bounce House Accident
There were three children inside the bounce house when it took flight: a 10-year-old girl, and two boys ages 5 and 6. According to the Post-Star, the girl was ejected soon after the bounce house lifted and received only "minor scrapes."
However, the one boy was thrown approximately 30 to 40 feet onto a nearby street, while the other landed on a neighbor's car. The 6-year-old reportedly suffered a serious head injury, and the younger boy had two broken arms and facial injuries.
Although both boys were reported as conscious after being hospitalized, with dangers like traumatic brain injury, parents may discover more injuries as time goes on.
Who's Potentially Liable?
Bounce houses are magnets for child injury. A 2012 study found that bounce house injuries send 30 children to hospital emergency rooms every day. When these injuries happen, it's important to know how to legally assign fault. Parties that can potentially be held responsible to some degree include:
- The bounce-house manufacturer. If a bounce house has a defect which causes it to be unsafe when used, then the manufacturer may be held liable for injuries under a product liability claim.
- The homeowner. Bounce houses are typically inflated at a private home. Homeowners can be held liable for bounce house injuries if they fail to take reasonable safety measures or if they are aware of dangerous conditions on their properties which led to those injuries.
- The rental company. Bounce houses are often provided by entertainment rental companies. Serious injuries may be caused by the negligence of that company's employees in inflating or securing the bounce house.
If the injured children's families decide to sue over their children's injuries, they may start with the bounce house's owner, a resident of the nearby apartment complex.
One apartment resident told the Post-Star that the owner had used stakes to secure the bounce house to the ground, and that a gust of wind uprooted those stakes. A policeman called the incident "a freak accident."