Popular bounce houses can be dangerous - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Popular bounce houses can be dangerous

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Bounce houses -- the popular party and festival inflatable playgrounds -- are causing thousands of injuries per year.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics shows the number of kids hurt doubled between 2008 and 2010 -- reaching 31 per day.

More than 64,000 kids have gone to the hospital with injuries since 1990.

"I think the biggest problem is improper installation, and people just don't quite understand the risks involved and aren't properly putting them up and anchoring them down," said Dave Lundon, branch manager of Space Walk of Cedar Rapids.

About 43 percent of accidents happen when kids fall, either inside the bounce house or as they're getting out of them.

Another 16 percent happen when two kids collide.

Lundon says both kinds of accidents can be avoided by simply following the rules.

In many bounce houses, only six to eight small children should play at a time, and just three young adults or teenagers.

"We've been to a number where we've come back to the event and there's twice as many kids as what should be in there," said Lundon. "I really believe that's where most of the injuries are happening."

Since 1995, injuries in bounce houses have increased 15-fold -- likely due to an increase in popularity.

Lundon's business has grown from 40 events per year to more than 400 in the past nine years, but he's never seen a major injury.

 "We've probably had a few bloody noses and minor things like that, but nothing serious that I'm aware of," said Lundon.

He says that's because his company puts such a strong emphasis on safety.

Space Walk has more than 200 locations nationwide, and Lundon said before employees can open a branch, they have to go through safety and installation training.

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