Bounce houses have always been considered a relatively safe place for toddlers to play and jump around. However, these giant gas-filled houses are perhaps not as safe as they are made out to be.
Police and fire officials are still trying to find out how and why an inflatable bounce house lifted off the ground and flew some 40 feet across a farm earlier this week in New Hampshire. However, what’s even more concerning is the fact that the bounce house had two helpless toddlers trapped inside. When the house crashed, the children suffered grievous injuries.
Authorities confirmed that two boys, ages 2 and 3, had climbed into the bounce house at Sullivan Farm in Nashua on Sunday when it went airborne, reported Fox News. The bounce house went flying over a fence before crashing to the ground. The younger of the two suffered critical injuries and was flown to a Boston hospital. The 3-year-old boy also was injured, but his condition is now stable.
The farm’s co-owner, Gary Bergeron, said that the bounce house had been inflated so it could dry off and was not open to the general public at the time. But the father of one of the injured boys told the police station that a farm volunteer implied it was open to the visitors.
Bounce houses are usually secured to prevent such mishaps. Commercial bounce houses rented for parties and other events are made of heavy vinyl, and weigh anywhere between 200 to 250 pounds. To ensure they do not topple or get lifted off the ground, these bounce houses are secured by 18-inch steel stakes. However, even small gusts of wind can cause these bounce houses to sway considerably.
Data obtained from the National Weather Service indicated that winds were blowing with a varying speed between 7 and 12 mph on Sunday afternoon, when the incident took place.
What’s alarming is that accidents involving accidents involving bounce houses are not isolated incidents. In May of this year, two boys, ages 5 and 6, fell 15 feet to the ground after one of the houses broke loose from its plastic anchoring stakes and was swept skyward by a gust of wind in upstate New York. One of the boys had to be put in a medically induced coma, and eventually spent more than a month in the hospital.
In an even more horrifying incident, a bounce house outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, was pushed into traffic by a gust of wind in March 2012. Similarly, in June 2011, strong winds tumbled three bounce houses with children inside them at a youth soccer tournament in Oceanside, New York, reported New York Magazine.
Authorities advise to exercise caution when letting your kids inside bounce houses. If there is a strong wind, avoid sending your kids into these giant inflatable balloons.
[Image Credit | Bounce4Kids]