Bounce houses are synonymous with childhood. You take off your shoes and it’s like walking on the moon. You find them at carnivals and fundraisers and birthday parties. How can you make sure your little ones enjoy bounce hoses while keeping them safe?
Always Provide Supervision
We want our kids to learn how to be independent, but in cases like this, adult supervision is a necessity. Bounce houses are fantastic and fun, but only if you’re ensuring that they’re safe for children. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, upwards of 30 children a day or one child every 45 minutes are injured in bounce houses. Ensure that there is someone keeping an eye on all bouncers. If you rent a bounce house, chances are high that it will come with an operator but that is no substitute for proper supervision.
One Kid at a Time or
You’ve got two options here when it comes to bounce house safety. Option one is to only allow one bouncer at a time in the bounce house. This can be challenging if you’ve got a birthday party full of kids to contend with but if you want to make your bounce-house a single-player game, have someone on hand with a timer and rotate kids in and out of the bounce house throughout the afternoon. If you’ve got a small bounce house, it will be safer to keep the bouncing to one person at a time.
Separate by Age
Option two is to separate your bouncers by age or size. Don’t over-crowd the bounce house, but also ensure that you’re not putting big kids in at the same time as small ones. Even if they’re not trying to hurt anyone, the sheer size difference between the children can be dangerous. Again, you’ll probably want to have someone on hand with a timer so you can rotate bouncers in and out to ensure everyone gets a chance to jump.
In most cases, no one is trying to hurt anyone inside a bounce house but it doesn’t take much for a large kid to bounce into a small one or vise versa in one of these attractions. When in doubt, separate the big kids from the little ones.
Keep an Eye On the Weather
Keep a close eye on the weather when you’ve got a bounce house set up. A strong wind can pull the bounce house right off the ground even with kids in it. It’s happened more than once — in Colorado, strong winds sent a bonce house 300 feet from its original location and in Fort Lauderdale, a waterspout tossed one into the air in 2015.
Be prepared to close your bounce house if the wind picks up or the weather turns. You might have a few disappointed visitors but it’s better to disappoint a kid than it is to have them get injured or worse because the bounce house went flying.
Bounce houses can be one of the safest places for kids to play and learn, but you need to make sure that you set rules to regulate your bouncer’s behavior. Your rules will vary depending on the age and abilities of your bouncers. If you’ve got little kids, you’ll want to ban flips and other crazy movies. If you’ve got bigger kids, set rules to govern their behavior so they can have fun safely.
Take Off Your Shoes
Shoes are essential when you’re out and about unless you’re in a bounce house. Make sure everyone takes their shoes off and is wearing socks. Shoe tread can damage the bounce house, causing it to leak, and no one wants to get stepped on by someone jumping with their shoes on.
Any jewelry should also be removed to prevent sharp edges from damaging the bounce house or causing injury to the bouncers.
Have Fun and Be Safe
When it comes down to it, bounce houses can be safe and fun as long as you’ve got enough supervision and a few ground rules to prevent your bouncers from getting hurt. Make sure you’re shutting down the bounce house if the wind picks up because these fun carnival attractions can easily take off if the wind starts to blow. Safety should be your biggest priority but once you ensure that everyone can jump safely, you can pay more attention to making sure that everyone is having the time of their lives. Who doesn’t like jumping in a bounce house?