In this article, sports and recreation expert, Corey Andres provides an introduction on the hazards associated with inflatable amusements. Topics include the most common causes of injury and steps that should be taken to promote safety.
Inflatable Bounce Houses, Slides, and Other Attractions - Guidelines for Safety
Inflatable amusements (bouncers, slides, obstacle courses, and others) can be hazardous; on average in the United States more than 30 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms every day for injuries associated with inflatable bouncers. The causes of these injuries are mostly preventable and fall into several common categories:
- Selection and inspection of site
- Cleanliness & housekeeping
The experts at Robson Forensic are frequently retained to investigate inflatable amusement mishaps when the injuries are serious. Our experts are retained on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants to investigate the circumstances leading up to the event and determine if actions were in compliance with the standard of care in the industry.
Consumer & Rental Inflatable Amusements
Generally the industry falls into two categories– consumer products often purchased online or at brick and mortar retailers intended for private use and commercial units seen at festivals, birthday parties, and indoor bounce facilities.
Regardless of whether the unit is a consumer or rental product, there are industry practices that should be followed to minimize the risk of injury.
- Follow manufacturer’s safety rules for use–often posted on the unit itself
- Prevent users of different size/ability from using the unit concurrently
- Remove shoes and jewelry before use
- No horseplay–flips, tackling, etc.
- Keep the entry area free of obstacles and pad the landing
- Use the manufacturer’s recommended number of stakes to secure the unit
- Ensure that the ground beneath/around the unit is free of debris and other hazards
- Provide proper clearances from hazards surrounding the unit
- Provide proper supervision any time the unit is in use
Two Models for Rented Units In the world of rental units, there are generally two business models.
- Companies that drop the unit off at your home -and-
- Companies that provide trained supervision.
When companies drop the unit at the home, they are supposed to train the renter on all the necessary safety precautions and manufacturer’s recommendations for proper use. Under this model, the renter is responsible for providing proper supervision. This model can be problematic because of the many distractions that exist at special events and celebrations.
Optimally, companies will provide a trained staff member to monitor the use of the unit and supervise according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and the safety standards in the industry.
Mr. Andres is a sports and recreation expert with relevant experience and training in the practices related to recreational safety analysis, risk assessment and mitigation, and the supervision of children and adults in sports and recreation environments. Mr. Andres is a member of the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO) and is a certified Amusement Ride Inspector with Operations Level I and II Certifications. Mr. Andres is also S. I. O. T. O. Basic and Advanced Inflatable Safety Operations Certified and currently serves on the ASTM F24.61 Inflatable Task Group responsible for producing standards for the Inflatable Amusement industry.