The number of U.S. children hurt while using inflatable bouncers, such as bounce houses and moonwalks, is 15 times higher than in 1995, according to a new study.
Researchers, who published their findings in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, said there are about five bounce house-related injuries per 100,000 U.S. children every year.
That's far less than the estimated 31 trampoline-related injuries per 100,000 U.S. children reported in 2009, but the study's lead author says the new findings should make people take notice.
"Groups should take a look at these data, help us get the word out and make sure parents are making informed decisions," said Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Get the word out? Make informed decisions? I, like most parents, do not possess a degree in Physics. Nevertheless, I can look at an item like a bounce house and know that (a) kids bounce in it, and (b) some kid may bounce out, and (c) bare feet are probably better than socked feet because the friction will keep a foot from slipping and thus an ankle from twisting, and (d) too many kids in it at one time is a bad idea, jut like too many kids in a pool or too many kids on a set of monkey bars.
Oh, wait, we don't have monkey bars anymore. Okay, too many kids on a rock climbing wall. But you get the idea - a little common sense will go a long way. I read the good doctor's statements to mean that OMG, THESE THINGS ARE INHERENTLY DANGEROUS AND PARENTS OUGHT TO KNOW, THEY NEED TO KNOW!
Seriously, will there be a parent crying in an emergency room, "If only I had known!" as wee Octavius gets his ankle wrapped?
Uh . . . yeah, probably.
So, thinking as a lawyer, if we get the word out, then parents know and those renting out these bounce houses will be on notice. Which means if a parent thinks Jose or Al of Fun Tyme Jumpers did not give adequate warning when his $10-an-hour assistant showed up at 9:00 am to drop off the My Little Pony bounce house for Calpurnia's 4th birthday party . . . they will sue.
|DEATH LURKS INSIDE!|
And so Fun Tyme Jumpers will increase its prices. Along with making you stand there for an hour, filling out multiple waivers.
And this is why we can't have nice things. Because while Calpurnia and her little friends are bouncing around, Muffy and Biff are too busy socializing with Chip and Taylor to notice ten kids are piled on one at the far end of the bounce house. Or too busy trying to capture the moment on film. For their kid, not the one on the bottom of the pile. Because you know you should not interfere with another's parenting.
Which is why . . .
Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised against the use of trampolines at homes and playgrounds. (see Reuters Health article of Sep. 24, 2012. http://reut.rs/OPn4z5).
You watch - skateboards are next.