How safe are bounce houses?
Check out our colleague Aubrey Whelan's story on how a rash of increasingly serious accidents involving bounce houses and inflatable slides around the county has left some wondering just how safe the popular amusements are. Rideaccidents.com, a website cataloguing accidents on amusement rides, has documented 10 separate accidents involving inflatables in the past two months, with more than 40 injuries resulting from bounce houses or inflatable slides collapsing or blowing away in high winds.
There are standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials, but Florida has no law on the books regulating bounce houses and other inflatables. The state office that inspects amusement park rides seemed a bit mystified why the state Legislature has exempted bounce houses and those 3-story inflatable slides that seem to be popping up everywhere, but it does.
Regardless, here's the common sense rules the industry recommends if you have a bounce house at your next birthday party:
• Make sure the inflatable is secured with metal stakes, not sandbags.
• Don't allow larger children into a bounce house with smaller children.
• If winds exceed 15 to 25 mph, take the inflatable down.
•Make sure children are supervised at all times.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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PHOTO: From Times archives 2010 (Terri Bryce Reevers)