What child doesn’t get excited when arriving at a birthday party with an inflatable bouncer? But parents may not be so thrilled when they learn of the high risk of injury these large air-filled structures pose.
A U.S. child is injured every 46 minutes in an inflatable bouncer, according to a national study in the journal Pediatrics. The authors of the study looked at records on children ages 5-17 years old who were injured between 1990 and 2000. Boys were injured most, and the average age of those hurt was 7½ years old. The study also showed that injuries have increased rapidly over time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently advised parents about home trampoline use. Similar injuries occur in inflatable bouncers, according to new data. Common injuries include fractures, strains and sprains to the legs and arms. More bouncer-related injuries happened in a sports or recreation setting than at home.
Inflatable bouncers come in many forms, including moonwalks, castles, obstacle courses, houses and slides. They can be rented or purchased for home use or found at indoor commercial inflatable bouncer parks. The springy structures also pop up frequently at carnivals and festivals across the country.
Similar to AAP safety advice on trampoline use, parents should:
ensure the weight limit per person (200 pounds) and total weight limit and number of people in the bouncer are not exceeded;
keep children under age 5 out of bouncers;
review safety rules with children before allowing them to use bouncers;
avoid using bouncers in unsafe conditions, such as winds higher than 15-25 mph, or if there are holes, tears or improper anchoring; and
report unsafe conditions to the company or management.
Finally, adults who use bouncers and slides also should follow safety rules. A large inflatable pool slide sold for home use recently was recalled after two adults were seriously injured and another died after falling off the slide.
© 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics. This Parent Plus may be freely copied and distributed with proper attribution.