Talk about a birthday to remember. Two sisters in Arizona were jumping the day away in a bounce house during a birthday party this weekend. All of a sudden a gust of wind scooped up the bounce house with the girls inside and took them on the ride of their life. Alissa Baray, 9, traveled about 110 feet in the air before being thrown onto the roof of a home.
Alissa's older sister, Jessica, jumped out shortly after the bounce house took flight and wasn't seriously injured, but Alissa suffered some major injuries including a minor concussion and the need for six staples in her head. She's recovering at home now, but it's a good thing she got out when she did, because it could have become much worse.
A neighbor told the Arizona Daily Star about seeing the bounce house flying over the neighborhood. After the girl hit the roof, the bounce house continued to sail until it hit the side of her house: "It hit the side of my house so hard. It would've killed her."
Shocking, and yes, it was even reportedly tied down (my first question on hearing the story), but the ties were no match for the large gust of wind that hit.
I can't even imagine how scared this little girl was and how shocked her family and friends were as they watched her fly away. Can you imagine if it had been several lightweight toddlers stuck in there?
This is another check for the hate category of my love-hate relationship with bounce houses. Part of me thinks they're the coolest things ever and have even considered buying one for my children. A neighbor has one, and my toddler daughter LOVES it. They provide great exercise and endless entertainment. Heck, I even love to jump in them.
But then there's the gross-out factor of them at big parties or at indoor gyms where countless kids spread their germs all over them. I've seen many accidents happen in them, including the one in which my son's best friend broke his leg and missed his own birthday. Plus, reports say they contain dangerous amounts of lead. And now, we know our kids could fly away in them.
So should bounce houses be banned?
No, not for my kids, anyway. Even given all the risk, I put bounce houses in the I-can't-protect-them-from-everything category, and let them bounce away. I may rethink my decision to buy one of our own, but if we're somewhere there's bouncing to be had, I'll continue to just cringe inwardly and let them have their fun ... unless it's windy.
Do you let your children jump in bounce houses? Will this story change that?
Image via ravedelay/Flickr