Bounce House Safety
I’m often asked if bounce houses are safe. I have read many articles and seen several news reports showing the videos of a bounce house or slide blowing away in heavy winds, we’ve all seen them. There are also some pretty alarming statistics being thrown around showing that injuries have been rising at an exponential rate over the last 10-15 years. While this is all true, we need to look at the entire picture to completely understand why the injury rates have increased like they have.
First off, Inflatables were not as available as they are now 10-15 years ago. Over the last 15 years, the number of companies that supply these products has grown to the point where you can spend an entire day shopping different companies trying to find the biggest bouncy for the cheapest price. So as the availability and increase of use have gone up, so has the injury rates.
Shopping for the cheapest product is usually a great practice when you are comparing identical items. For example, If you were looking to buy a bottle of perfume, and wanted to find a great deal, Its very easy to find the best deal on a specific brand in a sealed box. But when searching for an inflatable, its not that easy. Its much like shopping for a great deal on a mattress. Its almost impossible to find an exact match from one retailer to the next.
There are many things to consider when searching for an inflatable. And ensuring the safety of all the users should be the first concern. Using a company that is cutting costs can increase the likelihood of an injury. Here are a few things to consider on your search:
- How old are the units the company is offering? Inflatable manufacturing companies continually improve the safety features of their inflatables. A bounce house that’s 10-15 years old, is probably not as safe as one that’s only 2 years old. There have been many improvements to the anchoring systems, and to the entrances protecting the users from accidentally falling out of the inflatable through the entrance door. On the other hand, that’s not to say an older unit is not safe if its been properly maintained. Older units can also be updated with more current safety features. So if you find a company that is cutting corners in any of the other areas listed below, you can rest assured they are also skimping in this area.
- Are the bounce houses inspected annually by a licensed inspector? Many states require all inflatable rides to be inspected on an annual basis. In Texas, this is a requirement and you can and should ask to see a copy of the inspection certificate from the business your considering to rent from. Each unit will have its serial number on the inspection certificate and its very easy to match it up to the inflatable your renting.
- Is the company fully insured? Again, its a state requirement to have liability insurance. Ask to see a copy of the insurance certificate prior to renting from any company.
- Are the inflatables fully cleaned and inspected between each use? Inflatables are used very hard. The kids bounce off the sides and put stress on the seams every time they are used. Therefor, all units should be inspected and cleaned between each use to ensure they remain safe to use for the next customer. A ripped or weak seam could be a safety hazard if left in disrepair.
- How does the company secure the inflatable. Its very important an inflatable is fully secured prior to use. The best method to secure an inflatable are stakes. Stakes should be installed at a 15 degree angle to prevent them from being pulled out by the inflatable as it moves. Sand bags, water bags, or water tanks are other options and should only be used as the last option.
- Does the company go over all the safety guidelines after the product is installed? Ask for a copy of the safety guidelines prior to committing to the company.
- Are the installers adequately trained. While not required, there are certification programs companies can use to ensure their installers are fully trained to install all types of inflatables. Look for the SIOTO badge on their site and verify their training is up to date by looking for them here. Companies that take this extra step will be listed here showing their certification level.