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Keeping your children safe in bounce houses

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If you’re a parent, chances are your kids have played in a bounce house and loved every moment.  But over the past few months, we’ve reported on a couple of bizarre incidents of kids actually blowing away inside bounce houses.

Suzanne Brubacher is the Director of Crosspoint Christian Child Care.  She says she was “really sad and a little panicked initially” when the incidents happened in New York and Colorado.  So she sent out an email to parents reassuring them their inflatables are installed by professionals.

The kids at Crosspoint couldn’t be happier and Brubacher makes sure her staff is on site at all times.  She says, “Kids know they have limits but will always want to test those limits and what looks like it could be more fun is probably more dangerous and not a good idea.”

Susan Rzucidlo is the pediatric trauma and injury prevention manager at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.  She says improper use of bounce houses can result in spinal and head injuries as well as broken bones.

Rzucidlo says, “If it would lift in a neighborhood with trees, the children could be propelled into trees.  We look at the height. Is it downstairs, about 10 feet which is a significant fall…If the child would fall and suspect an injury, leave them where they’re lying and not move them because if there is a spine injury or fracture, it’s what EMS trained to do.”

The Department of Agriculture regulates the use of bounce houses state by state.  In Pennsylvania, there are no reported incidents of people’s lives in danger. 

Steve Corsner is the owner of 3 Monkeys Inflatables, in York County.  Corsner says, “So if you see an inflatable and it’s got 6 anchor points, it should have 6 stakes in the ground or sandbags.”

At least once a year, the State inspects Corsner’s business.  He says Pennsylvania is the second most heavily regulated bounce house state in the nation, underneath New Jersey.

Corsner says, “A lot of manufacturers allow units to be up in 25 miles per hour, sometimes 30.  The state says no, we’re doing 20, so anything 20 or above, you don’t put up an inflatable regardless of what the manufacturer says.”

Brubacher says, “And they make sure we understand and sign off on a paper that says if there are winds and you know, shut it down.”

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