E-Cropped slide 5.23.13

If you’re a parent, you are likely well aware of the popularity of inflatable amusement devices, such as inflatable slides and bouncy houses. Those usually colorful attractions show up at all different types of events, from shopping mall openings and county fairs, to church picnics and birthday parties. They are immediate attention-getters and children flock to them. However, what parents may not know is that accidents involving such amusements are on the rise. According to a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Pediatrics, the number of inflatable bouncer injuries to children increased dramatically from 1995 to 2010.

According to an article in CNN Health (May 14, 2014) entitled “‘Bounce house’ injuries skyrocketing,” Dr. Gary Smith, the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, launched the first study to determine the frequency of inflatable bouncer-related injuries occurring in the United States. Dr. Smith and his team analyzed records from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which is operated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. NEISS collects patient information for every emergency visit involving an injury associated with consumer products. According to its data, the number of inflatable bouncer-related injuries rose 1,500% between 1995 and 2010. In the last two years of the study, from 2008 to 2010, the rate of injuries more than doubled. In 2010 alone, according to the report, 31 children were treated in emergency departments each day on average. “That’s about one child every 45 minutes,” said Dr. Smith.

The CNN article goes on to say that “[o]f the nearly 65,000 children treated in U.S. emergency departments over a 20-year period, 55% of these injuries occurred between 2005 and 2010, according to the study. More than half of the injured children were in the 6- to 12-year-old age group; more than a third were under the age of 5.” Such an increase underscores the need for clear set-up guidelines, instructions for consumers, and better design to prevent injuries.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey E. Martin, LLC recently filed lawsuits on behalf of two 5th grade students who were severely injured when the 18′ tall inflatable slide they were on fell over during an end-of-the year picnic in May 2013 in the gymnasium at the Algonquin Lakes Elementary School in Algonquin, IL, allegedly due to a failure to properly secure the slide.