LITTLE SUAMICO – An inflatable bounce house accident in New York prompted FOX 11 to look into safety precautions for inflatables.
With a gust of wind, an inflatable bounce house broke off from its support stakes with three children inside in upstate New York. One received minor injuries, but two boys who fell out from 15 feet in the air were seriously injured
So what do companies that rent these inflatable structures do to try to make them as safe as possible?.
We spoke with one owner who told us he only lets trained employees do set up.
For eight years Jake Kwiatkowski’s run Jake’s Jumpers in Little Suamico. He told FOX 11 the incident in New York is a reminder how important safety is for bounce houses.
“We never go un tethered. That’s one of the rules we have,” said Kwiatkowski.
To ensure the inflatable stays put, they stake all four corners into the ground, but if it’s inside, they use sand bags.
The size of stake and how many stakes they use per corner depends on the ground quality, but the stakes are all metal. Kwiatkowski said in photos of the bounce house that lifted off the ground in New York state, he saw that was held down using short, plastic stakes. He said that could have been part of the problem.
There are other rules.
“Where you can put it. You can’t put it on a hillside. You’ve gotta have it on a flat area,” Kwiatkowski explained.
The weather is a factor too.
“If you have really high gusts, 25-30 miles an hour, we’re just not going to set them up,” he said.
Nationwide Children’s Hopsital warns, injuries from bounce houses are on the rise. A study in 2010 showed in the U.S. one child was treated for such injuries on average every 45 minutes.
Still, Kwiatkowski says the inflatables are safe overall, if you follow the rules.
“We’ve done over 2,500 set ups over the years and we’ve never had any incidents. I mean, you might get a bloody lip or bruise here or there,” he explained.
Kwiatkowski told FOX 11 the state doesn’t inspect the inflatables.
We did reach out to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services on this matter, but did not hear back.
There are also no national safety guidelines for the structures.
So it’s all on Kwiatkowski and his employees.
“It’s really important for the safety of the children and everyone around,” he said.
Kwiatkowski told us he has a one million dollar insurance policy on each of his inflatables.