New study shows children's bounce house dangers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New study shows children's bounce house dangers

Dr. Paul Eakin Dr. Paul Eakin
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Children love to jump in with both feet … but a new study shows those bouncy houses at kids' parties can be dangerous. The number of related injuries is increasing at an alarming rate.

No doubt, kids jump at the chance for a few minutes inside moonwalks and bouncy castles, but doctors at a children's research hospital in Ohio have found a rapid rate of injuries, nationwide, in recent years, related to inflatables - and that includes Hawaii.

"Yeah, we're definitely seeing it, and it feels like it's increasing," says Paul Eakin, a pediatric ER doctor at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. He says he's seen injuries requiring casting, splinting, and follow-ups with orthopedic surgeons.

"We definitely see bounce house injuries here at Kapiolani," explains Eakin. "A lot of times, it's smaller children playing with larger children - a lot of broken bones - is most common. Sometimes, head injuries."

Indeed, collisions among different-sized kids, as well as over-crowded bounce houses, and children falling out of them are the biggest dangers. Between 1990 and 2010, the Ohio researchers uncovered almost 65,000 inflatable house injuries - nearly 11,000 injuries in 2010 alone - and many are happening to children under age five.

"The popularity of bouncers has gotten to be a lot more common," says Paul Sailor, owner of the inflatable party rental company, 808bounce, on Oahu. He says his staff is trained to make sure their products are inflated safely. Parents need to pay attention to how they're set up and the conditions they're set-up in, like when it's windy.

Sailor adds, "So, before putting the kids in the bouncers to play, you want to make sure the straps are secure. You want to make sure that there are stakes or sandbags securing the bouncer to the ground."

Once they're securely in place, rental companies usually don't provide supervision - so the responsibility lies with the parents to make sure children jump for joy safely. Sailor also warns parents to be careful after purchasing bounce houses in stores – as they can be dangerous without supervision, too.

Neither the state Department of Health nor Kapiolani Medical Center keeps specific statistics on bouncy house injuries. You can look at the study's findings in the journal "Pediatrics".


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