Inflatable Bounce Houses
Many states do not regulate inflatable amusement devices at carnivals and fairs, but the state of Connecticut does regulate these devices through the Department of Consumer Protection. Part of the regulation on inflatable bounce houses at carnivals and fairs includes annual inspections as well as safety warning signs. Though bounce houses are regulated, there is still the chance that accidents will occur.
In 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated over 20,000 injuries resulting from inflatable bounce houses, which is more than double the injuries from a decade ago. Some accidents that could lead to injuries in bounce houses are:
- Skin burns: Also known as friction burn, this can occur when the skin rubs against the material on bounce houses, especially bounce house slides. When kids slide down slides, the vinyl material can cause a nasty red burn that can be very painful. The best way to avoid this is to be wearing long sweatpants and socks when playing in a bounce house, to avoid skin contact with the vinyl material.
- Bruises or broken bones: The most common fractures are to the legs, feet, hands, and arms. It is difficult for jumpers to maintain balance in the bounce house. Especially toddlers who have just learned to walk can easily trip and fall or bounce too high and not be able to land stable on their feet. Landing wrongly on the ankle and twisting it can lead to foot and ankle fractures and throwing the hands and arms behind or in front to stop a fall can lead to fractures.
- Knocked out teeth: The jumping and colliding of children in bounce houses along with the netting can knock kid’s teeth out. This is likely not a big issue for kids with only baby teeth, but if an adult tooth comes out, this can present a bigger issue that must be fixed by a dentist.
- Concussion: Concussion or other head injuries usually occur when two jumpers collide with each other or when a child loses control and lands on their head. Instructing your children not to intentionally try and bounce into other children and telling them to bounce in their own area, can help reduce the likelihood of collisions.
- Neck injury: The neck and spine are very fragile, especially in children. Neck injuries can occur when landing the wrong way, coming down on the neck or head, or colliding with others. If an accident occurs, your child may have difficulty identifying a neck injury, so keep an eye out for symptoms afterwards.
Improper Anchoring or Inspection
There have been several incidents where bounce houses have been lifted into the air and have traveled in the air and then fallen with children inside. This accident can occur when the bounce house is not anchored properly. If this happens, children can suffer all of the injuries above or even death from the fall. Before your children play on an inflatable bounce house at a carnival, make sure that you see the bounce house is anchored or tied down in some way. Instruct your children to not climb onto the side of the wall of the inflatable, to avoid it tipping over.
Many times, bounce house injuries occur because they are not inspected properly, anchored properly, or small and large children are allowed in at the same time. If your child has sustained one of the injuries above or another type of injury from a bounce house at a carnival, call and speak with an attorney so we can help you.