Erica is a writer, editor, wife, and mom. She has always found employment with an English degree and she excels at nurturing children and animals but struggles to keep houseplants alive. Erica currently writes at

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Bounce House Injuries Skyrocket as American Children Are Deemed Too Fragile for Bubbles

I remember my parents joking, when my brother had his 200th stitch at age 10, that he should be housed in a bubble.  Apparently, today’s children are not even safe when ensconced in air.  So says the latest “health emergency” of hazardously rising bounce house injuries.

LM Otero/AP

According to the NEISS, an organization that collects information on injuries caused by consumer products, bounce house-related injuries increased 1500% from 1995-2010.  Can anyone out there think of a single bounce house before 1995, or at least one that wasn’t part of a major kids amusement chain?  Methinks the giant increase comes with the increase in privately owned bounce houses.  Anyone can buy one for $100 and throw it down in the basement so their kids can bounce their hearts out (and their arms apart) while parents take a breather.

The statistic that one kid gets injured every 45 minutes sounds alarming, but so is the fact that over 9,500 kids (under age 14) per day seek medical treatment for sports-related injuries.  Of 65,000 bounce house injuries in 20 years, 55% of them were between 2005-2010.  Again, I think this comes with the boom of personal inventory of houses, along with the increased use of them at every little kid party (how many parties have you seen that adhere to the recommended ONE child jumping at a time?) and the increase in production, sometimes by lesser-quality manufacturers (we’ve all seen little kids get caught in deep air pockets and weird netting).

But really, calling bounce house injuries an epidemic seems a bit neurotic, much like everything else about American child rearing.  Did you know that much of Europe has zip lines included in their playgrounds?  My local playground touts a sign that it’s legally intended for 6-12 year olds, when in fact my five year old is bored with its giant plastic safety zones.

As in much of life, the problem seems to be the user.  Kids are going to be crazy in a bounce house, and adults must communicate rules, stand by to help, and deal with mishaps as they happen.  Passing through life without a scrape or bump is unrealistic.  I’m not so sure that any legislation is going to help with bounce house injuries.  Bounce houses are air mattresses with walls.  People are thinking beings with brains and personal will.

You can legislate anything.  You can’t take away personal responsibility.  Otherwise, we’re all living –and playing — in a bubble.


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Comments (6)

  1. Rachael 01/08/2014 at 2:01 pm

    I have taken my kids both to parties and to just have fun many times to Bounce house places like Money Joe’s. I was shocked when I read that an adverse of about 30 kids go to the ER everyday from injuries at Bounce Houses. I am going to have to re think before taking them again. These comments below have been so helpful.

  2. Tiffani 12/04/2012 at 2:49 pm

    I haven’t worried too much about injuries due to jumping, but have had bounce houses collapse on both of my children on two separate occasions because the circuit became overloaded and turned off the air compressor. In both cases, my kids were about 3-4 years old and it trapped the kids inside screaming. The parents, including myself were panicking because we couldn’t get them out until the air came back on. It was an absolute nightmare for everyone! That plastic is very heavy once collapsed and could suffocate a young child. It’s also terrifying for a child to be trapped like that. I’ve talked with other parents who have had this happen also and were just as concerned. Now, I’ll only let them play on the ones that don’t have any kind of a roof.

  3. Maryann 12/03/2012 at 9:04 pm

    When my daughter was 4 years old, she broke her leg in a jumpy house. It happened at a birthday party at a bounce business. She was jumping next to my husband enjoying his bounce as she would pop up in the house. It was not rough play , just gentle fun that ended with a summer ruining injury and a trip to the ER. Fortunately the bone break just missed her growth plate and her leg would be sore when the weather was changing or when she was growing. The pain spot moved up her leg a bit as her bones grew. Bounce houses are not always as fun or safe as you might think.

  4. Teresa 12/03/2012 at 12:36 pm

    My daughter was playing in a bounce house and a kid jumped right into her face at a school fall event with plenty of parents around observing. She fractured her nose and looked horrible as her lip and nose swelled. She never went in another bounce house again. Accidents can happen very easily and it is difficult for a parent to jump in right away to protect the kids. Also, some kids are just better behaved than others and more careful just like some parents are more responsible and will take necessary precautions and limit the number of children in the bounce house at one time in order to help alleviate injuries.

  5. Emi 12/03/2012 at 12:14 pm

    zip lines are much safer than bounce houses. This article is just the author’s opinion. A zip line cannot blow away with someone inside of it or fall over

  6. La Yen 11/27/2012 at 11:49 am

    I can personally attest to allowing my daughter and 30 of her friends to cram into a castle at the same time. Because we enjoy living on the edge.