More than 64,000 children under the age of 17 have been injured on inflatable bouncers in the last 20 years, so says a recent study published in Pediatrics (the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics). Making matters worse, 90% of these injured children are under the age of 13, with 19% of injuries sustained to the head and neck and 16% of injuries occurring as a result of direct collision with another user.
When it comes to your young child’s safety, these popular bouncy castles and houses should be of ever increasing concern – not just as a parent, but as a homeowner, as well.
Child Safety Tips for Inflatable Bouncers
Gary Smith, Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the author of the study on inflatable bouncer injuries, recommends the following safety measures to protect your child:
Limit use to children 6 and older
Ensure there is adequate adult supervision
Ban flips or horseplay
Limiting the number of children on the bouncer
Only allow children of similar age and size to play inside at the same time
Make sure the bounce castle or house is tightly secured to the ground
Shut down bounce houses immediately if winds exceed 15 mph
Inflatable Bouncers and Homeowner Liability
Should you decide to rent an inflatable bouncer for your child’s next party, there are a few things you should know to protect your friends, family and guests, as well as your wallet.
If there is an accident in your rented bouncer and the company is not insured, you can personally be sued.
Inquire as to whether or not your prospective rental company is insured, in case of an accident or major injury. (Minor injuries are typically not covered.)
Keep in mind that most homeowners policies specifically exclude coverage for inflatable bouncers.
Ask your rental agency if they can provide an Additional Insured Certificate naming you or your organization, extending their coverage to you.
A reputable company will have made every effort to be properly insured and will have made a commitment to their inflatable equipment’s safe operation.
Inflatable Bouncer Companies and Insurance
In Minnesota, insurance is required by state regulation. According to statute 184B.02 Insurance Requirements, “No person shall operate an amusement ride unless there is an insurance policy in force, written by an insurance company authorized to do business in this state, with limits of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 aggregate, insuring all owners against liability for injury to a rider in connection with the amusement ride.”
Any inflatable rental company operating without insurance is operating illegally in the state of Minnesota. Make sure the company you rent from can produce an insurance certificate and an affidavit attesting that the equipment has recently been inspected as well as the name and phone number of their insurance agent – this way you can call to be certain that the specific piece of equipment you are renting is covered.
There have been cases where companies have insured only a handful of their inflatable bouncers, leaving the renter holding the bag with liability.
Additionally, if your rental company requires the renter to sign a waiver or liability release form, you will be fully responsible for any and all injuries or accidents that happen while the bouncer is in your possession. If your rental company requires an additional fee to provide insurance, this should be a red flag that they may be operating without insurance.
The key thing to ask yourself when renting an inflatable bouncer for your next party is, “Is it worth the risk?” If you feel it is, make certain you have safety rules and protocols in place for your guests and both you and your rental company are adequately insured in case of an accident.
If your child has been injured in an inflatable bouncer, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the team at Meshbesher and Spence to find out more about your case.