If you’re the parent of a young child, you’ve probably either been to a party or hosted a party that has a bounce house. These inflatable bouncing attractions are also popular features at smaller county fairs and amusement parks. They can range in size and shape, from a simple enclosed area for children to bounce their little hearts out, to a large and elaborate bounce house modeled after Stonehenge . On some of the more expensive models, you might find castles with three separate levels and a slide to the outside of the structure. The number of bounce house rentals in the San Francisco area have increased tremendously over the last five years. Unfortunately, so have the number of injuries caused by these inflatable structures.
A study on bounce house injuries was conducted last year by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It specifically looked at pediatric injuries associated with the inflatable bounce houses. The researchers found that, from 1995 to 2010, the number of bounce house-related injuries that were treated in United States emergency rooms increased by astronomical numbers. To put that in some sort of perspective, let’s look at some solid statistics.
In 1995, there were only 1,000 children who sought treatment for bounce house injuries. Once the toy gained such massive popularity, the number of injuries skyrocketed. In 2010 alone, over 30 children a day were being treated in an emergency department after suffering an injury in a bounce house. That means one child was seeking treatment every 45 minutes of every day. What an altogether frightening statistic that is!
How Do Bounce Houses Pose the Risk of Injury?
Unfortunately, when you look at the data, bounce house-related injuries are not made up of simple cuts and bruises. The injuries that children suffer while playing in a bounce house are often ones that require hospitalization. In fact, the most common injuries are broken bones.
There are many different reasons for bounce house injuries. Most happen when children fall, either inside or outside of the bounce house. It is also common for children to suffer injuries when they collide with another child who is also bouncing inside the structure.
Some of the more frightening injuries are caused by the bounce house itself. There are multiple reports of large bounce houses around the country that suddenly collapse with no warning. Can you imagine the terror that would cause a small child? One minute they are bouncing with their friends and, in an instant, they are falling to the hard ground, engulfed in a crumbling bounce house. When this type of malfunction happens, it is common for children to suffer broken bones and blows to the head.
In addition to collapsing bounce houses, there are also several reports of the inflatable structures being picked up by strong winds and carried for long distances. This usually happens when the bounce house is not properly tethered to the ground. With a strong gust of wind, the entire bounce house can become airborne, tossing children around on the inside of the structure or even ejecting them from the bounce house while in mid-air. As you can imagine, an injury sustained during this kind of bounce house accident can be severe and even lethal. In fact, at least four children have died as a result of bounce house accidents. Each of those tragic deaths were caused by various types of head injuries.
Who is Responsible for Bounce House Injuries in San Francisco?
As more and more children suffer bounce house injuries, parents have begun to question who should be held responsible for the damages suffered in the wake of an accident. Ultimately, the responsible party will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the bounce house accident.
In some cases, the company who rented the bounce house may be responsible due to negligence. This is especially true if the bounce house collapsed, injuring your child in the process. In other cases, if there is a bounce house at a birthday party, the host of the party where the structure was located may be held liable.
There are a lot of legal complexities when it comes to determining who is ultimately responsible for bounce house injuries, so it is a good idea to contact an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney for advice. For more information about bounce house liability or to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation, contact the law office of Nelson C. Barry today.