Bouncers, Slides, and other Inflatable Attractions Expert Article

In this article, the sports and recreation experts provide 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.

Bouncers, Slides, and Other Inflatable Amusement Expert

Safety on Inflatable Attractions

Inflatable amusements (bouncers, slides, obstacle courses, and others) can be hazardous; over 20 years (2000-2019) estimated injuries of children between the ages of 2-18 according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) is 159,569. 

The causes of these injuries are mostly preventable and fall into several common categories:

  • Supervision
  • Installation/Inspection
  • Tethering/Anchoring

Frequency of pediatric injuries related to the use of inflatable play structures by year
Frequency of pediatric injuries related to the use of inflatable play structures by year
Credit: CPSC

Inflatable amusement devices have grown in popularity over the last 20 years due to their inexpensiveness and perceived relative safety. Inflatable amusement devices can be found in family-friendly amusement attractions such as fairs, festivals, churches, and school events. The ease of renting or purchasing these devices introduces private homes as an additional area of concern for potential injury. Data analysis shows that most injuries occurred at home for all age groups.

The growing ease of availability of inflatable amusement devices as rental attractions calls for consumers to be educated on the associated dangers. Amusement inflatables for home use have shown the most injuries over the past 20 years.

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.
 

Inflatable Rental Supervision

Generally, supervision falls into two categories: rental company-trained attendants or home-owner-trained attendants. Most rental companies have the option to hire a rental company to supervise the inflatable while in use.

Regardless of whether the attendant is a homeowner or provided by the rental company, there are industry practices that should be followed to minimize the risk of injury.

Federal regulations and ASTM standards address supervision and state:

  • 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
  • Provide a training program that includes how to estimate wind speeds
  • Provide a copy of the operation manual
  • Provide a copy of the CPSC bulletin
  • A written statement signed by the renter documenting that they have received and understand all applicable installation and operating procedures

Figure 1. Inflatable Bounce House Investigation

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. 

Forensic Investigations Involving Inflatable Amusements

The experts at Robson Forensic have investigated hundreds of amusement device incidents. Robson Forensic provides expertise in all aspects of amusement device analysis, ranging from design and manufacturing, to maintenance and operation of the device; including supervision, patron education, training of operators, and inspection.

For more information, submit an inquiry or call us at 800.813.6736.

Featured Expert

Lance Miller, Inflatable, Trampoline & Amusement Device Expert

Lance Miller

Inflatable, Trampoline & Amusement Device Expert
Lance Miller is an expert in the amusement industry with specific expertise in inflatables, trampoline parks, and specialty devices. He applies his expertise to forensic casework involving the… read more.

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