Bounce houses and inflatable slides make for fun and soft landings under the right conditions. But they can collapse or blow away in high winds, and state law exempts inflatables from inspection. The Legislature should close that loophole and require some reasonable regulation before someone gets hurt.
Earlier this month, a 36-year-old mother was critically injured after an inflatable landed on top of her in New York. In the past two months, 10 accidents have injured about 40 people. In January 2010, a bounce house blew into a Jacksonville retention pond with a 5-year-old girl inside, according to the website rideaccidents.com.
In some cases, companies providing the inflatables did not take appropriate precautions, such as ensuring that the rides were installed and inflated correctly and notifying customers of poor weather conditions. More should follow the example set by Tampa Bay Bounce, a Riverview-based inflatable company that refuses to rent the inflatables without the possibility of securing at least one corner to the ground. Sandbags are no substitute for metal stakes to keep these inflatable rides in place.
But these companies should not be self-policing themselves with no oversight. Some minimal regulation by the state to better ensure safety would provide more protection for kids and parents.