SALT LAKE CITY — A freak accident involving a bounce house that injured two children in Colorado is drawing the spotlight on the popular summertime rentals, but those who rent out the inflatables say renters need to use some common sense.
“They can be safe, they can be OK,” said Karina Lacma, owner of West Valley City-based Jumpolines Party Rentals. “It can be a fun party and not a disaster.”
A relative disaster is what unfolded in the latest Colorado case. A powerful gust of wind blew a large inflatable like a tumbleweed for 300 feet. The two children inside suffered some injuries; one was taken to the hospital.
Also within the past month, two children were seriously injured in upstate New York when their bounce house was blown into the air. The children inside reportedly fell 20 feet.
“It can probably happen if you’re not careful enough,” Lacma said.
She said it is very important for renters to watch weather reports and weather conditions. As little as a 15 to 20 mile-per-hour wind can be problematic for the large inflatables, according to industry experts.
“If you see the trees shake vigorously, you should probably evacuate the kids,” Lacma said.
She said workers carefully secure the bounce houses by hammering 18-inch metal stakes into the ground, and occasionally add sandbags when necessary.
Lacma also offered several other safety pointers for parents who rent the commercial bounce houses and accompanying water slides, including having somebody watching at all times, trying to keep inflatables in shaded areas as opposed to sunny spots so the surfaces don’t get as hot, and to have small children and big children play on the inflatables at different times.
Lacma said often commercial inflatables can support hundreds of pounds of weight, but it’s important not to have too many children playing on them at once.
“Just be careful and always have somebody supervising the kids,” she said.