The Bouncy Castle Conundrum


Enormous inflatable bouncy castles also known as bounce houses are often seen at kids' birthday parties and the like. They're colorful, bulbous enclosures where cake and ice cream filled youngsters can jump to their hearts' content, burn off some of the manic sugar buzz, and one would presume stay out of harm's way. In recent months, however, what once seemed to be a benign source of entertainment for the young and young and heart has come to be regarded as a menacing, potentially injurious if not deadly choice for party-day entertainment.

This past May, three children fell from a bouncy castle after it was carried away by the wind and flew high into the sky. Two were seriously injured: one fell 15 feet onto asphalt, another onto a parked car. Even though a parent had staked the castle to the ground, the wind lifted it up. A similar incident was reported in 2011 when three bounce houses were carried away by the wind in Long Island, New York; a rope attached to one of the wrapped around one child's neck, threatening to choke her, and several other children and adults were injured. Prior, equally frightening incidents involving runaway bouncy castles and resultant serious injuries were reported in Arizona.

Bouncy Castle SafetyFor some, instances such as these are enough to inspire a personal ban on bouncy castles and a refusal to set one up in spite of a birthday boy's or girl's most ardent requests. Others, however, might be willing to accept the risks that may be associated with a bounce house in exchange for the fun it is likely to provide. Those who do plan to incorporate a bounce house into their next celebration should heed the following tips:

Bouncy Castle Safety:

  • Make sure the unit is staked at every one of its corners. To insert stakes properly, position each one at a 45-degree angle and push it at least halfway into the ground, away from the inflatable house.
  • Avoid setting up bounce houses on windy days, as they can be surprisingly vulnerable to gusts. If winds exceed 20 mph, do not set up the bounce house.
  • Do not set up a bouncy castle if there is a threat of rain or lightning.
  • Ensure that the bouncy castle is supervised by an adult at all times.
  • Prohibit the following in the bounce house: jewelry, shoes, glasses, pocket items, food, drink, gum, and any horseplay such as flipping.

Finally, if you intend to set up a bouncy castle at your own home, make sure you have a comprehensive homeowner's insurance policy in place, one that will cover any damage to your property that may be caused by the bouncy castle, as well as any injuries others might suffer while using it.

For more information about homeowner's insurance, Call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services.

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