Inflatable bounce houses, bounce pillows, space walkers, moon bouncers and slides – all are increasingly popular at community events and private parties in South Florida, a fun attraction for children to release some of that pent-up energy. However, there is a growing body of evidence that inflatable bounce houses and related amusements are anything but safe. Children have been seriously injured and even died. Product liability and premises liability claims may be appropriate.
Recently, The Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska reported a 2-year-old boy died on a recent afternoon when a strong gust of wind blew over the unenclosed inflatable bounce pillow on which he was playing at a pumpkin patch. The boy and his older sister, 5, were at a private event, playing on the pillow with their parents, who both slid off seconds before the gust of wind swept the pillow up, despite being tethered to the ground. The wind gust reportedly clocked in at around 60 mph. The pillow was ripped of its moorings and flew some 30 to 40 feet. The girl was thrown, but the boy reportedly became “wrapped like a taco” inside the inflatable.
The newspaper reported the pumpkin patch owner does carry the requisite liability insurance required of such operations. Such a claim would fall under the umbrella of premises liability, which holds property owners or controllers responsible for dangerous conditions on their property. Our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers explain that while the number of defendants will be case specific, it’s plausible the child’s parents may have grounds to pursue claims also against the inflatable pillow manufacturer, as well as the event organizer, if a different entity than the pumpkin patch.
This is not a brand new problem, sadly. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that between 2003 and 2013, more than 113,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries while using inflatable amusements.
Nearly half of these incidents occur in a commercial (non-home) environment, while another 21 percent occurred in a residential setting. In 33 percent of cases, the location designation wasn’t indicated. Of those children injured, 88 percent were under 15 and 60 percent were between the ages of 5 and 14.
Injury breakdown was as follows:
Leg/ Foot – 34 percent
Arm/ Hand – 32 percent
- Head/ Face – 15 percent
- Other – 12 percent
- Torso – 7 percent
- Types of injuries were pretty evenly split among:
- Fractures – 28 percent
- Sprains/ Strains/ Dislocation – 27 percent
- Contusion/ Abrasion/ Laceration – 23 percent
- Other/ Not Stated – 22 percent
During that 10-year time frame, a total of 12 children lost their lives on inflatable attractions.
There have been numerous other recent child injury cases involving these inflatables reported across the country just in the last year.
In April, at a church carnival in South Carolina, five children where inside a bounce house when a gust of wind swept by, carrying the bounce house – and the children inside – some 30 feet in the air. All of the children were injured, two seriously, after falling out while the bounce house was airborne, according to The Washington Post.
The very next month in Southern California, The Washington Post reported a “near tragedy” when a bounce house set up at a residence blew over a highway with a 9-year-old inside. The child fell out and hit a car – but miraculously, survived.
Because these incidents can result in such serious child injury and wrongful death, it’s important for parents of those hurt to seek out experienced legal counsel.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
2-year-old who died after bounce pillow incident was ‘adored by all’, Oct. 5, 2018 By Riley Johnson, Lincoln Journal Star
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