Kids in bounce house
Bounce house: "safe" children's entertainment? / Image: GaryPaulson/Flickr/CC BY-ND

Three children’s “bounce houses” became airborne Saturday at a soccer tournament in Oceanside, NY. Thirteen people received minor injuries. This incident is only the most recent of many such accidents. Bounce houses, also called bounce castles, moonwalks and jumping balloons, are inflatable jumping enclosures for children’s entertainment.

‘The craziest thing you ever saw’

Several children were inside of the bounce houses when heavy gusts of winds lifted them into the air. They came down to earth with the children still inside and continued to roll, causing injuries to others in their paths.

“It was the craziest thing you ever saw,” said Vinny Garone, one of the local parents. “The … inflatable that two of my kids were in started bouncing and sliding. I tried to catch it, and it just flattened me.”

Not the first accident

This was not the first, nor the worst, accident caused by bounce houses. In August 2007, a 3-year-old Washington boy was crushed to death by two adults when they were were all bounced out together.

Texas girl injured twice

Kaylah Luna, a 6-year-old in El Paso, Texas, has broken bones twice in bounce houses. On Feb. 6, her mother, Cecilia Hernandez, told local reporters, “She’s in pain most of the time.”

Dr. Jacob Heydemann, the orthopedic surgeon who treated Kaylah, said that he treats five to 10 bounce house injuries a month and many of them require surgery.

Two sisters airborne

Last February in Marana, Ariz., two sisters were injured, one of them seriously, when a strong wind lifted a bounce house more than 100 feet into the air. Alissa and Jessicaa Baray were deposited on a nearby rooftop. Ten-year-old Alissa suffered a concussion, and her father received an ankle injury when he tried to pursue the runaway bounce house.

Wrongful death suit filed

On May 16, 2008, Doris Crawford, 84, was sitting outside a bouncy house in Texas, watching her niece’s children play, when children inside the house slammed against a wall, knocking Crawford over “suddenly and without warning.” A fractured hip allegedly led to her untimely death. A wrongful death suit was filed by her family last month in Argyle, Texas.

Industry statistics

BounceHouseInfo.com, an industry website, posted these dated statistics, which show that the issue is not a new one:

2002: A 21-year-old male broke his neck and died while jumping in an inflatable bounce.
2003: A 15-year-old male fell head first off an inflatable obstacle course slide and died of traumatic head injury four days after the incident.
2004: An 18-year-old male died after he fell on his head from an inflatable slide.
2005: A 24-year-old female died after falling from a 28-foot inflatable climbing wall and striking her head on the pavement.

No criminal charges

No criminal charges have been made regarding the recent incident in New York. Local authorities report, however, that they expect some some civil charges will be coming.

Sources

ABC: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/long_island&id=8170694

FOX: http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/18951774/detail.html

Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110220/us_ac/7902024_arizona_girls_bounce_house_flight_is_latest_in_series_of_similar_scares

Bounce house accident caught on camera

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMgIWwAYwhs

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