WASHINGTON, D.C. –Warm temperatures mean more outdoor fun for children. From birthday parties to carnivals, bounce houses are likely to be a part of the fun. It’s important to remember, however, injuries can happen. CPSC cautions consumers to take care when using inflatables, including bounce houses. “If a bounce house is not properly secured to the ground, a gust of wind can send it airborne with children inside and the result can be tragic,” says CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle. “If the tops of the trees are swaying, it may be too windy to let your child play inside of a bounce house,” she added.
Bumps, Bruises, Broken Bones and Even Death
While inflatables like bounce houses can be a fun activity for children, they are not without risk. CPSC’s injury and death report on inflatables shows there were 12 deaths reported to CPSC in the years 2003-2013. When it comes to bounce houses, children have received cuts, bruises, sprains, broken bones, head injuries and more, while jumping. In 2018, the CPSC estimates there were more than 18,000 injuries associated with bounce houses that were treated in hospital emergency departments.
CPSC staff has actively participated in the process of developing voluntary safety standards for a variety of inflatables. ASTM issued a revised standard in 2018, to address Home Use Air Inflatable Play Devices. The revised standard addressed anchoring and staking requirements and updated references regarding visibility.
What You Need to Know to Stay Safe While Using Bounce Houses:
- If it’s windy outside, don’t use a bounce house. Maximum wind speed should be no more than 15 to 25 mph if you are using a bounce house.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for set up.
- Make sure the bounce house is properly staked and anchored on a flat, even surface.
- Never place bounce houses near tree branches, power lines or fences.
- Only children about the same age and size should be jumping at one time; and always observe the maximum occupancy limit.
- Set rules for safe play. Teach children to not tumble, wrestle or do flips.
- Keep children away from any gas generators or air pumps, especially if standing water is nearby.
- Remember, children should always be supervised by an adult. Equally important, there should be proper oversight of each inflatable by parents or caregivers while in use or by staff from the company hired to operate it.