12 NEWS DEFENDERS: Inflatable Injuries - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

12 NEWS DEFENDERS: Inflatable Injuries

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Inflatables, or moonwalks as they were originally referred to, can be an endless source of fun for little ones, but they can also be the source of serious injuries.

In May, two 5 and 6-year-old boys in upstate New York fell 20 feet from the air when the bounce house they were in was picked up by a gust of wind.

One of the boys broke both arms, fractured an eye socket and suffered a broken jaw. The other had a serious head injury.

In Colorado, two kids were mildly hurt when an inflatable slide was blown 300 feet across a ball field.

Kevin Faulkner has been in the inflatable rental business for years. As a local franchise owner of Space Walk of Montgomery he stays busy.

"I've even had one move about 10 feet because of some strong winds. Pulled two anchors out of the ground and moved it about 10 feet at a local school here," Faulkner said.

Faulkner says he rents out nearly 400 inflatables a year.

But as popular as they are, injuries associated with bounce houses have skyrocketed right along with their popularity.

According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, bounce house related injuries increased 1,500 percent between 1995 and 2010.

According to a study in the journal "Pediatrics," one in five children hurt using bounce houses had head and neck injuries. Falls accounted for 43 percent of injuries, followed by stunts and collisions.

But arm and leg injuries are the most common. Children under the age of 5 are most likely to have fractures. As you can see, most injuries are not caused by houses flying away.

To ensure safety, Kevin puts his clients through an orientation on how to properly install a bounce house or slide. He only uses thick 18-inch stakes to anchor them down.

But he says anything can happen with strong winds.

Findlaw.com recommends these tips:

  • Always have an adult supervising the kids.
  • The number of kids allowed on the device at a time should depend on their ages and size.
  • The rental contract you sign should include those guidelines. And make sure the rental company is carrying liability insurance.
  • Read the warning on the bounce house. Injures often result after adults allow kids to do things they really shouldn't.

"There's been some people who have gotten hurt on these. Mainly for negligence or things like with some of our bounce units when you get in them you have wet feet. Slipping hazard. I've had a couple kids who have gotten hurt like that before," Faulkner said.

On top of being aware of those issues. One of the most important things to be aware of is the weather forecast. It's recommended to stop using a bounce house of winds exceed 20 mph. Kevin won't set up a bounce house for a client if the forecast is iffy.

"We haven't had that happen that many times in the five years my wife and I have been doing this, but there is that chance you may, and we've even had that for our little one's birthday when we've had to cancel the inflatable fun and just have it inside because of the weather," Faulkner said.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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