Moonbounce and Bounce House Safety: Fairfax County Offers Tips

Safety group has urged CPSC to address hazards of inflatables.

Moon bounce safety tips; Patch archive photo
Moon bounce safety tips; Patch archive photo
After two boys in New York were injured when a bounce house they were in was swept away by wind gusts, Patch is posting this video from Fairfax County offering safety tips to families considering renting a bounce house or moonbounce for a party.

From a hearing last summer, Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and Senior Counsel at Consumer Federation of America, discussed legislative priorities for 2013-2014, including urging the Consumer Product Safety Commission to "address hazards posed by inflatable amusement products such as bounce houses."

"According to Consumer Product Safety Commission's most recent data, from 2003 to through 2007 there were an estimated 31,069 inflatable amusement injuries serious enough to require emergency room treatment," Weintraub said in her written testimony.

"Ninety-one percent of those injuries were caused by moon bounces," she said. "Most of the injuries (62%) were in the 5 to 14 age group, and almost all the estimated injuries (85%) involved children under the age of 15."

"CPSC documented, in its report released in 2009, that it was aware of four deaths involving inflatable amusements from 2003 through 2007," she noted.

"News reports have indicated that bounce houses and other types of similar products can pose various hazards to consumers," she said. "For example, reports have indicated sudden deflation, entrapment of children as well as falling by children. Reports have also shown that such products have blown away and injured children. These incidents cause great concern."

"There is no voluntary standard for these products," she said. "We urge the CPSC to investigate this emerging hazard and to work with ASTM International in the development of voluntary standards for inflatable amusements that are intended for recreational use by consumers."

Eric Axilbund May 15, 2014 at 11:54 AM
The CPSC does have guidelines for inflatable operators which are supposed to be provided with each rental to the customer. When renting a bounce house, make sure that your provider provides you with the proper amount of training and gives you both the CPSC guidelines and the user's manual for the unit that you are renting. Better yet, you can rent from an operator that provides trained personnel as attendants who can make sure that the unit is in good working order, secured properly, used properly by your guests, and knows when to shut down the unit due to unsafe conditions. Make sure your operator provides you with a certificate of insurance and has been credentialed by SIOTO (Safe Inflatable Operators Training Organization) or similar entity. Some general rules: Never operate an inflatable when the wind speed is greater than 15mph. Make sure the inflatable is secured as to the manufacturers specifications using either ground stakes, sandbags or affixing to appropriate permanent structures. Make sure that you have the proper safety mats at all entrances and exits. If your provider does not give you their insurance information, a copy of the CPSC and manufacturer guidelines, provide training or attendants, provides proper safety mats, provides proper sandbags or stakes, and makes sure you are aware of the dangers inherent in these large and heavy devices, then consider a different operator or visit a local indoor bounce center instead.
Eric Axilbund May 15, 2014 at 11:55 AM
My favorite local indoor center is Alexandria Coliseum at Kid's Choice in Annandale.


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