Inflatable amusement devices, sometimes known as "bounce houses" are commonly provided at fundraisers and other school events. Unfortunately, where bounce houses are concerned, not everyone is having a good time.
The JPA is seeing a trend of serious injuries associated with these devices. This includes a dislocated knee and a broken femur. The same problem is being reported across the country, where at least 4 deaths have occurred. The critical issues for schools are:
- Mixed ages and sizes of children (and sometimes adults, too) pose a danger to the smaller users when they collide or land on top of each other.
- Lack of supervision. Many of these devices are enclosed, with little or no field of vision to enable supervisors to keep an eye on things. And supervisors are often too distracted by other event activities or socializing.
- Inflatables are sometimes not properly secured; a gust of wind can carry them away, with users tumbling and falling out of the opening.
- The equipment can be very unsanitary, posing a threat of bacterial illness through hand contact.
It should be a clue that few companies renting bounce houses will provide evidence of liability insurance. Instead, they ask the school to sign a waiver of liability, causing the school to be responsible for potential claims and litigation.