Bounce houses may be incredible fun, but they can also be dangerous for your kids.
Just in the last month, two bounce-house injury and accident stories have made national news; in both incidents, an inflatable playpen being used by kids was picked up and carried away by an unexpected gust of wind.
Before you order up that bounce house for your child's next birthday, consider these five tips for parents:
1. Secure Your Bounce House.
Two separate incidents less than a month apart have shown just how dangerous an inflatable bounce house can be if it isn't properly secured. Two young boys were hospitalized with serious injuries after their unsecured bounce house was blown aloft by wind, tossing them at least 15 feet to the ground.
In a more recent incident, Denver's KUSA-TV reports that an inflatable "bouncy slide" was blown across a lacrosse field over the weekend. Two children were injured.
2. Have an Adult Present at All Times.
A bounce house may be a great way to keep children occupied, but it's important to have at least one adult present in case an injury occurs. And these injuries aren't very hypothetical; there are several thousand each year, and most are not caused by mother nature.
3. Read All Warnings on the Bounce House.
It's tempting to blame the makers of bounce houses for these injuries, but often accidents occur because parents fail to read the proper warning labels. However, if the warnings themselves were defective, parents may have cause to sue the manufacturer.
4. Consider Liability Waivers.
Inviting kids to a big bounce house bash at your house? You may want to request that parents sign a liability waiver before letting their kids use the bounce house. Trampoline parks have been somewhat successful in using them to ward off injury suits, so a waiver couldn't hurt.
5. Know Who May Be Responsible If Something Goes Wrong.
If your child is injured while using a bounce house, you may consider the following parties potentially liable:
- Location owners. Whether it's a house party or a state fair, the property owners are likely liable for bounce house injuries under a premises liability theory.
- Amusement workers. If a private company inflated, provided, or otherwise managed the bounce house, it and its workers can potentially be sued for negligence if an accident occurs.
- Manufacturers. If a defect with the bounce house caused the injuries, a manufacturer may be held liable for any injuries under a variety of legal theories.
Bounce houses aren't inherently dangerous (we hope), so a bit of caution on the part of parents should go a long way. If you or your child have been hurt in a bounce house accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can jump in to help figure out what to do next.
- 2 children injured in most recent bounce house incident (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Trampoline Injury Triggers Amnesia: Lawsuit (FindLaw's Injured)
- Should You Sign a School Sports Waiver? (FindLaw's Injured)
- Bounce House Businessman Embezzles While Friend Is in Rehab (FindLaw's Legally Weird)