Bounce houses might look fun for children, but they come at a risk. Unfortunately, many people don't stop and think about the risk before erecting one of these structures. The Associated Press reports that 30 children a day are treated in emergency rooms in the United States, after roughing it in a bounce house.
If you don't have kids, you might be unfamiliar with the concept. A bounce house is an inflatable play area. It can come in many forms, such as a princess castle, a slide, a basketball court. But the it's essentially an inflatable box in which kids play.
Sounds harmless, right?
It's not that harmless. In fact, there have even been fatalities from these bouncy play-houses, when children hit their heads on hard surfaces.
Many times, when going to a bounce house facility, parents sign a waiver of liability. This can sometimes serve as a defense in any potential lawsuit, as can the idea of assumption of risk, where the idea is that a person assumes a certain risk of liability when he or she knowingly engages in a dangerous activity.
In theory, these sound like the easy way out of legal liability. But what happens when there's an unforeseen risk? Or when the danger is the result of human error?
In rural California, a family sued several people after their 4-year-old broke his arm in a bounce house, reports The Appeal-Democrat.
The bounce house was picked up by the wind and tumbled, leading to the boy's injury. As a result, the parents sued not only the bounce house company, but also the people hosting the event, as well as the event sponsors.
Bounce houses may eventually be regulated by agencies, but for now, there is no safety regulation in place on these hazardous "toys." As a result, it's up to the parents to keep their kids safe. And it's up to the facilities and bounce house operators to protect themselves from liability.
Here are three key points to take home:
- Don't put the bounce house near a hard surface, such as a wall.
- Have an adult supervising the bounce house.
- Secure the bounce house to the ground and if it's a windy day, think twice about using it.