The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database houses information regarding emergency department visits by children less than 18 years of age. A new study using that database has determined that a child is injured in an inflatable bounce house, castle, moonwalk or other inflatable device every 46 minutes nationwide. The author of the study is calling for stricter guidelines as to when and how these devices can be safely used, if ever. Injuries caused by such devices are 15 times more common now than they were in 1995.
This study comes several months after pediatricians urged parents to beware of trampoline use by children in the home, based on the rising number of injuries caused by that activity. Similar injuries are tied to bounce houses, which are increasingly popular attractions at birthday parties and other recreational gatherings for kids. The majority of the injuries caused by bounce houses come from children falling and hurting themselves. Children are also injured attempting stunts and colliding with other children. Among the injuries that required hospitalization, broken bones were the most common element.
The author of the study made several recommendations to help parents avoid bounce house injuries. First, he suggested that no child under 6 years of age be allowed into a bounce house. Second, he recommended that only one child at a time be allowed in the house. Finally, any bounce house or inflatable device should be constantly supervised by an adult.
Parents should strongly consider the potential for injury before renting one of these devices or allowing their children to enter one.
Source: CBS News, “Bounce houses injure a U.S. child every 46 minutes, study finds,” by Ryan Jaslow, 26 November 2012