Toddler Brothers Seriously Injured When Another Bounce House Takes Flight

bounce houseIt's happened again. A bounce house meant to provide fun and entertainment for little ones quickly turned into a dangerous ride as it was caught up by the wind and soared through the air ... while children were in it. This time it happened in New Hampshire over the weekend, and two brothers were hospitalized as a result. 

According to ABC News, the boys -- ages 2 and 3 -- climbed into a bounce house at a Halloween festival at Sullivan Farm in Nashua, New Hampshire. The bounce house was in an area off-limits to the public and was not supposed to be used. It was, the owner said, only inflated so that it could dry out after rainy weather. Likely, this means that the house was not adequately tethered to the ground, and it's unclear why the boys were allowed inside.

Witnesses to the incident, according to ABC News, said they "saw the bouncy house fly up in the air before it came crashing down in a neighboring orchard."

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The boys were trapped inside and both were injured, one critically, as it crashed down to the ground.

Can you imagine their terror? Can you imagine the terror of those who watched them lifted up into the air like this?

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time such an incident has occurred. A few years ago a 9-year-old girl was blown nearly 110 feet into the air and crashed down on a neighbor's roof. Earlier this year, two other children were seriously injured when their bounce house set sail in the air.

So is it time to just ban the bounce house?

Personally, I love bounce houses. I do. I think they look like awesome fun. When I was a kid, I loved them. As a mom, I love to watch my kids go crazy in them. We frequently take our children to the indoor bounce house gyms and let them run amuck, climbing and jumping.

While I understand the germ and "ick" factor associated with these kinds of places, everywhere is filled with germs and "ick," so I don't let that stop us. But these more frequent incidents of bounce houses getting caught up in gusts of wind are disturbing.

Perhaps the way these houses are tethered in backyards and open-air festivals needs to be re-evaluated. I don't know a lot about the technical issues of tethering an air-filled "tent" to the ground, but I do know that when I tried to set up a tarp to protect my farmers' market table in a strong wind, I nearly blew away holding onto it. I'm not exaggerating. Kids are simply not heavy enough to weigh these things down in inclement weather.

More and more children are getting injured in bounce houses. According to a study released in 2012 in the journal Pediatrics, "the number of children injured in bounce houses had doubled from 2008 to 2010, when 11,300 kids were injured. That number is also 16 times the number of kids injured in 1995. The majority of those injured had broken bones followed by bumps and bruises and concussions."

But before we kill all the fun, there are a number of ways to keep your kids safe in bounce houses. Are they enough to guarantee that your child will never get hurt in a bounce house? Probably not, but childhood would be a pretty dull affair if we only let them do things that came with a guarantee, now wouldn't it?

Will the increasing number of bounce house accidents affect your children's use of them?


Image via Stevan Sheets/Flickr

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