Small children love bouncy castles and other inflatable bouncers. These bouncers are loved so much that they are regulars at birthday parties, carnivals -- and sometimes -- even school events. And while it's great that these types of toys encourage an active lifestyle, parents should still be aware that the rate of children's injuries caused by bouncers has been on the rise for the past 15 years.
A report, which was recently published in the journal Pediatrics, analyzed data from 1995 through 2010 and found that children's injuries attributed to playing in a bouncer increased fifteen fold during that time. The increase in injuries increased so much so that Gary Smith, the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, said the issue was "epidemic."
Going by the data, in 1995 there were 702 injuries. By 2010 this number rose to 11,311. Among those who were injured in bouncers, 28 percent were treated for fractures. Another 19 percent had neck and head injuries, and 27 percent had strains and sprains.
It's interesting to note that while these types of injuries are similar to those that children suffer from on trampolines, during the same time period the study analyzed, trampoline injuries were actually on the decrease. It's believed part of the reason for this is due to there being national guidelines for trampolines, but not for bouncers. The findings of this study and the rate at which children are being injured suggest it's time for there to also be national guidelines for bouncers.
Parents can also take some action to try and reduce the risk of injury. For example, older children should not be jumping with younger children. And, similar to rules around pool time, there should be rules regarding rough-housing and attempting stunts, such as flips.