Family First: Bounce houses should be inspected

Family First: Bounce houses should be inspected

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Throughout the year we've seen incidents involving inflatable slides and bounce houses floating off into the air, sometimes with children inside.

With parents on high alert, local businesses that rent this "inflatable fun" have said the negative publicity has hit their pockets hard!

"They would call and ask for the safety, you know if we've had any problems, if we know anybody around that's had any problems, if they're prone to flying off in high winds," said Phillip Hoffman of Inflatable Events in Bossier City.

Bounce houses have been flying off into high winds, like this one in New York that flew 50 feet into the air with three small children still inside.

The three children fell out, two were seriously injured.

Just a few weeks later an "inflatable slide" in Nevada went airborne, 300 feet in the air.

It happened again in Colorado with two kids inside.

"I could rent 15 water slides in a weekend, now sometimes its two or three," Hoffman said.

The recent bad publicity has caused Hoffman's business to lose more than 50 percent of its revenue.

"The average revenue on an average weekend could net 25 to 30 thousand dollars," he said. "After the stories came out, we've now dropped down to about three or four thousand dollars on a weekend in sales."

Hoffman said the situation with the bounce house in New York could have happened for a number of reasons.

"High winds, sustained winds with heavy wind gust, that wasn't properly staked down if it was staked down the stakes that came with the unit were inadequate," he said.

Hoffman said their larger units are usually given full size tent stakes.

"So people get these units and instead of having this long of a stake they have something that is not even equal, not even half the size of this," he said.

A reputable company should also be inspected by the state fire marshal who will certify that theapparatuss has been inspected and that it is not defective, he said.

There should always be a yellow insert on it with the guidelines and Hoffman doesn't suggest customers set up their own bounce houses.

"If you don't have experience putting one up you could make a lot of errors in doing it," he said. "You could rip it and not know it. You may not have all the zippers pulled on it and it may have an opening somewhere. You may not stake it down properly."

Hoffman hopes people will heed to his warnings to avoid a potential bounce house disaster.

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