- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 3500 people, primarily young children, were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to inflatable amusement devices in 2006 -- triple the number of injuries recorded in 1997.
- Blow-overs and collapses due to equipment failure or improper setup can, and do, cause catastrophic accidents.
- Inadequate supervision increases the danger of broken bones and dislocations. Allowing younger children to jump with older children is the most common safety hazard cited by safety officials.
- Inflatable attractions are exempt from safety oversight in many states, including California and Florida.
- In 2001, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a safety bulletin to ride inspectors and owners of inflatable amusement rides.
2009, Children's Hospital, Los Angeles
published findings from a study of skeletal injuries
related to the use of inflatable bouncers.
- 1.1% (49) children treated for fractures in their Level I trauma center from October 2002 to March 2007 were hurt while using inflatable bouncers.
- 74% of those injured were male and the mean age was 7.8 (range 1.5-15) years.
- Almost half of the families (21/49) were reached by telephone. Among those interviewed: 1) all stated the injury occurred at home on a rented device; 2) 43% stated that adult supervision was absent at the time of injury; 3) 53% stated that children of different ages were jumping inside together; 4) the two most common mechanisms of injury were collision between two children (67%) and falling outside of the bouncer (19%).
- The authors noted that injury mechanism and fracture distribution were similar for inflatable bouncers and trampolines; however only 14 trampoline injuries were treated during the same time period.
- Parents are cautioned to supervise children while playing in inflatable bouncers, and to place children in small groups according to their size (i.e., don't allow older children to jump with younger children).
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Inflatable Rental Company
- Does the company deliver, set up
and supervise the use of the equipment?
Proper set up is essential to reducing your risk potential. The unit must be situated on level ground and must be anchored by stakes or weights. Fall zones must be adequately padded. Does the company train its setup crew? Do they offer trained operators to supervise use? Adult supervision is essential to preventing injuries from occurring. Allowing younger children to jump with older children is the most common safety hazard cited by safety officials.
- Does the company properly
maintain its equipment?
Is the equipment clean? Free of damage? Companies should follow manufacturer’s recommendations, operating instructions, and proper safety inspection and maintenance schedules. Ask the operator about his or her experience, safety record and employee training programs.
- Does the company have adequate
Cities, schools and many churches require inflatable companies to be properly insured when hired for use on their property. This includes city parks. Ask to see the company’s certificate of liability insurance.
If you rent an inflatable for a party or family event, consumers should keep the following in mind:
- Be aware of the risks.
- Pay attention to the weather. Avoid use on windy and wet days.
- Make sure the inflatable is secured to the ground.
- Make sure the children are supervised at all times.
- Limit the number of children in the inflatable and do not allow older children to jump with younger children.
Awareness and safety are the key words when incorporating inflatables into your event. Inflatables can be dangerous when the rules are broken, but they're great fun when the safety rules are followed.