Safety tips after kids injured in bounce house

Safety tips after kids injured in bounce house
Although fun, these jump houses can cause potential dangers if not mounted properly. Source: WDAM

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Five children were injured when an inflatable went airborne during a church carnival Saturday in South Carolina.

The incident happened Saturday afternoon in Taylors, South Carolina, when a gust of wind picked up the bounce house, hit power lines and landed in a road.  Two of the children suffered severe injuries, all five were transported to a local hospital.

A witness told reporters "everybody just enjoying themselves, calm day, no wind blowing and all of a sudden it showed up."

WDAM Chief Meteoroligist Nick Lilja said when there is any wind in a forecast, people need to be aware of the chance of a strong gust.

"Anytime you've got winds 5 to 10 miles an hour across the area, there's a chance you'll probably get a gust 10, 20 to 25," said Lilja.  "Which is plenty to move one of these bounce houses."

As the weather heats up and more events are held outdoors, 7 On Your Side wants to make sure you are aware of the dangers when it comes to these popular inflatables.  There are simple, yet valuable tips, to keep you and your family safe at any party.

David Seagraves, owner of Action Party Rentals in Hattiesburg, said he was setting up an inflatable at a local elementary school when it went airborne.

"As soon as I got it inflated, before I had the chance to anchor down, the wind got up under it and took it up in the air," said Seagraves.  "I thought, wait a minute, we are going inside with this thing."

Seagraves said if you are hosting a party, or at an event with an inflatable, you need to look for these simple things to keep your children safe:

  • Make sure the inflatable is secure.  If the bounce house in on grass, there needs to be heavy stakes to anchor it to the ground.  If its on cement, there needs to be heavy sandbags.
  • Double check your power source.  Make sure the cables are thick, but not too long.  You don't want to cause a short in the breaker or someone to trip over the power cord, causing the power to be pulled from the bounce house, which would cause it to deflate.
  • Always check the weather.  If its too windy, deflate the bounce house until you feel comfortable using it.  Always be alert and ready for any type of change.
  • Set the inflatable in a safe area.  You want to try to avoid an area near busy roads or streets.

Seagraves said all inflatables are rented out with anchors or sandbags.  He said they also will deliver inflatables to set up at events, which he said is the best option.

Seagraves wants everyone to just be aware of the surroundings to keep the fun from turning dangerous.

"Just use common sense, this isn't rocket science," said Seagraves.  "Be aware of the weather and pay attention to any changes."