They are an integral part of many children’s summer birthday parties, but worrying recent evidence has shown that the amount of injuries caused by bouncy castles is on the rise.
Following a recognised increase in the number of children being taken to hospital as a result of bouncy castles, Dr. Gary Smith from the US conducted a study into the problem nationwide. The results were shocking, showing that the number of injuries had leapt an enormous 1500% in the fifteen years spanning 1995 to 2010. It was also reported that across the US, 31 children each day were being treated in emergency rooms after playing on bouncy castles. Over half of the children were between the ages of six and twelve, while a third were under five. These are worrying statistics, especially as under-fives are more likely to suffer from fractures due to their young age.
The problem is not just one which is found stateside. There have been numerous incidents of serious injury here in the UK. One example of this is a case in North Yorkshire in 2011, where three children were left seriously injured after a bouncy castle threw them thirty feet into the air in a strong wind. There have also been more tragic cases involving children receiving long-term damage and even dying from injuries sustained on the party objects.
While bouncy castles blowing over in the wind are fairly freak occurrences, common causes for injury include children hurting themselves while attempting dangerous flips and children bouncing off the surface onto the hard ground. Arm and leg injuries are the most commonly seen, though obviously it is knocks to the head and back which can cause the most damage.
Should You Stop Using Bouncy Castles?
Of course, authorities are not saying that people should stop using bouncy castles. If used safely and correctly, they can provide hours of fun for kids and help them release a lot of excitable energy at parties. Also, the benefits of playing outside and getting involved with active play are numerous. Experts are instead advising parents on how to minimise the risk of injury. Firstly, it is recommended that children under the age of five avoid bouncy castles altogether. They have less co-ordination and so are more prone to falling anyway, and as the above statistic shows, if they do hurt themselves they are more likely to suffer a more serious sprain. Secondly, try to control the number of children who play on the bouncy castle at once; this way, you minimise the chance of them bumping into each other – and also the castle toppling over! When choosing when to let kids on, keep them grouped together according to age and size, as older kids can pose an unintentional threat to littler ones. Finally, ensure that the ground surrounding the castle is safe, so that if anyone does fall off there won’t be as many scrapes. Laying down grass mats such as the ones provided by SmartPlay are a good option here.
Author – Adam has been writing articles for years now in differing sectors with great levels of success accross the board