The New Up and Coming Scourge of Our Nations Youth: The Bouncy House?

by Steve MacDonald

The danger of bounce houses

Danger Will Robinson – DANGER!

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.

That’s the lead from Reuters.

I didn’t look past the dead link at the bottom of the article but I’d love to know who the ‘researchers’ are and who paid them to figure this out because as I understand it the increased use or access to anything by the human animal will result in an increase in injuries.

“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.
The number of kids being brought into emergency rooms (ERs) for the injuries increased from 702 in 1995 to 11,311 children in 2010.

Informed decisions…?

It’s a Bouncy House.  Its purpose is to contain some sum of noisy children, likely hopped up on cake and soda, so they can burn off their sugar high without annoying the adults.  Crying is inevitable.  Actual injury is likely.  The rest is just math.   More bouncy more owie.

Sure, it’s not the bathroom where more than 43,000 kids under 18 suffer non-life threatening injuries annually (the number for adults is over 260,000).  And it’s not an automobile which is still the number one killer of Americans under the age of 20 something.  It’s just  a bouncy house.  But it’s there, and someone paid someone else to do a study.  Yeah.

The good news is that Trampolines are still six times more dangerous than bouncy houses, although the bouncy house data is suspect, at least according to John Carr, of the American Inflatable Alliance, (who) warns that the new study does not say how many children who use inflatable bouncers got injured (Same Reuters Article c/o Yahoo! News).

Good point.  We also do not know how many bounces per injury.  Nor do we know the number of bathroom injuries per flush, brush, or shampoo.  The NHTSA reports collisions, injuries, and deaths involving motor vehicles as a factor of million vehicle miles traveled.   Perhaps a Injuries Per Bounces factor is required here for clarity?  What if its one injury per billions served?

We actually have no way to know.  Only the bouncy house renters and owners would know.

I know, for example, having had a huge trampoline in my yard for around a decade with no net (net not required when I bought it), that we had no injuries….ever.  That would be about zero per kajillion bounces if we’re counting.  But then, we always did our best to supervise the device, limit the number of kids who were on it, and we always kept the little kids separate from the big kids and the very little kids off it altogether.  And no, you should not bounce on a trampoline after you get out of the pool.  Say hello to slippery yard toy of destruction.  Parenting- it reduces trips to the hospital.

It’s more like a lawn ornament now, something else to shovel off when it snows, and likely headed to the dump next year as it has begun to wither from summer heat, winter chill, and yes…use, though sentimental value may keep it cluttering up my yard a few years longer than I’d like.   We still lay on it and stare at the sky or the stars from time to time, and my youngest even bounces on it now and again, but not much.

So based on my experience trampolines with nets are a waste of money.  And I suspect that were I to have a bouncy house, all things being equal, I’d not be trekking off to the ER to deal with broken this or sprained that.  But that’s my family.  Somewhere in the US just over 11,000 kids got whacked hard enough to require a trip to the ER…assuming that it was the Bouncy House that was to blame.

“Tell the nice nurse you slammed into your mother in the Bouncy House.  Yes, Daddy.

I blame the government, of course.  Their decades long assault on the culture has reduced parenting to one parent and that job no longer has much in the way of requirements.  Honestly, how can you possibly slam back glasses of cheap Merlot, chat with the other single moms about how Republicans want to take away abortion and deny you birth control AND watch the inflatable sweat tank full of urchins at the same time?

Does SNAP cover bouncy House sitters?

I jest.

Back in the world of professional useless research (where mine is just anecdotal, a hobby, and free), we’ve got folks guessing what the frequency of injury is based on guesses about use, and while some will always suggest restrictions, no one seems to be suggesting a ban (yet) just caution (here’s some caution from the North Florida Injury Lawyer Blog which is where I snagged the above image).

Injury Lawyer Blog?  Yes, and don’t forget to tell your insurance company as well so they can apply the backyard fun-fee table to the things that drive up your home-owners insurance rates.

We also have to accept that once they start doing research and publishing studies, and guessing, that the nanny state (or perhaps I mean the Nancy State) is never far behind, with more guessing and gosh, I don’t know what actually went in to the (report, research, 2700 page piece of legislation) but lets spend a kajillion dollars we don’t have to regulate it and see what happens.  It’s for the children.

There will always be “easy-going” parents who unload their offspring into the bouncy house as if they were returning lotto balls into that big bin they spin around, and others who refuse to subject their children to random acts of physics in a germ infested, cross-contamination chamber even if it is in the shape of a castle and in happy primary colors.  And you never know who might start some fool crusade to educate the public about the dangers…that’s how we lost JARTS (lawn darts).


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