Bounce house injuries jump higher

C.O. operator notes safety safeguards

'Bounce houses' can be risky

BEND, Ore. - Strong winds in upstate New York launched an inflatable bounce house high above the ground as three kids played inside earlier this week.

Two of the children were seriously injured when they fell to the ground.

A national study shows a huge jump in injuries related to bouncy houses.

Bouncy house operators say there are many safety procedures they have to follow.

"If you follow the rules and you have the mind-set that you might take a step beyond those rules, there's a very high probability of a safe operation," Eliot Collins, manager of Bouncing Off The Wall, said Wednesday.

According to a study by the National Children's Hospital, between 1990 and 2010,  nearly 65,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries, one out of four for broken bones.

Since 1995, injuries have shot up 15-fold, and continue to rise.

"Each day in this country, more than 30 children are rushed to a hospital emergency department for an injury associated with an inflatable bouncer," said Gary Smith, a doctor at Nationwide Children's Hospital and director at the Center for Injury Research. "That's a child about every 45 minutes."

Bouncy castle operators say if you follow the rules, inflatable bounce structures are safe.

"Kids are kids. You're going to have scrapes, you're going to have bruises. I think every parent experiences that. We take every precaution, as does most of the industry, they take every precaution to defend against major injuries," said Collins.

To keep the bouncy castle safe, officials say. use stakes to make sure they're not floating away.

Despite the rise in injuries, Central Oregon parents we talked to are not very concerned.

"I think no matter what your kids are doing, there's a risk. I've known kids that have fallen off the bed when parents weren't watching," said Kerri Ellis, a mother of three.

"I've probably seen more injuries from trampolines than I have from bouncy castles," said Karissa Osborne, a kindergarten teacher.

Officials say the best thing to do is to follow the guidelines. If you feel the wind is too strong that day, don't set up. Make sure you're watching your kids closely and don't let them wear any kind of shoes, especially flip-flops.

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