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Using bounce houses on windy days has led to at least 28 deaths, researchers say

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Considering renting an inflatable bounce house? Recent research shows that even light winds can send inflatables flying and cause serious injuries and death.

A team of researchers from the University of Georgia looked at various news and meteorological sources, and documented 132 cases of wind-related bounce house incidents worldwide between 2000 and 2021. Those incidents resulted in at least 479 injuries and at least 28 deaths. The injuries, according to a UGA press release, are on top of the estimated 10,000 annual ER visits related to bounce house incidents – most of which result in broken bones, concussions and muscle sprains.

The researchers also found that fewer than half of U.S. states have specific statutes and regulations on bounce houses. Of those that do, 19 use the ASTM International standard of 25 mph maximum wind speed for safe operation of bounce houses (unless they’ve been secured by a professional engineer). The problem: A third of the incidents documented occurred while winds were 20 mph or lighter.

 

To limit injuries, lead study author John Knox recommends using stakes to secure bounce houses, and even attaching sandbags. An adult should be present at all times and monitoring local wind speeds and weather conditions.

“These bounce houses aren’t something to set up and then forget to stake them into the ground,” Knox said in the release. “What could go wrong? The answer is that it could blow away in winds that are not anywhere near severe levels.”

The study was published online in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

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