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Experts Offer Tips To Ensure Bounce House Safety

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LEONIA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There are new concerns over the safety of bounce houses after an upstate accident Tuesday.

As parents prepare for the summer months and plenty of outdoor activities, many are on high alert, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.

The inflatable houses take just seconds to set up and provide hours of entertainment. But safety is critical.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said the rapidly increasing number of bounce house-related injuries highlights the need for stricter guidelines and regulation.

Those fears were reignited Tuesday when a lightweight jumper went airborne in upstate New York, injuring a 10-year-old girl and two boys, ages 5 and 6.

Three years ago, a parent on Long Island captured an accident on video in which a heavy-duty, commercial-grade bounce house was blown across a soccer field by a strong gust.

Vince Pivlo, owner of Laff & Grinn Amusements, told Brown that parents should run through a quick checklist before letting their kids on any type of jumper.

First, they should make sure the company providing the bounce house is licensed, inspected and insured. In New Jersey, that falls to the Division of Consumer Affairs.

Parents should also check to see that the corners are staked or weighted down.

“That’s the most important thing,” Privlo said. “That way, it’s not going to shift around. It’s not going to move or blow over in the wind.”

A representative for the party rental company Clowns.com told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern that his firm does it the right way.

“We use a stake that’s about a little over a foot high,” he said. “We anchor them in — four corners of the bounce — and then we secure them with two water weights that I would say would weigh about 150 to 200 pounds per weight.”

Parents also need to make sure that the cord has enough slack and doesn’t come unplugged because, when the blower shuts off, the bounce house deflates quickly, Privlo said.

“If a kid gets hurt, then that’s not a good time anymore,” Privlo said.

Heavy-duty bouncers weigh around 200 pounds or more.

Those sold for less than $1,000 in retail stores are much lighter. Safety experts advise parents to keep those kind of bouncers indoors, away from the elements.

Some parents, however, said there’s no way they would let their children play in a bounce house.

“I don’t like trampolines in the backyard,” Barbara from the Bronx told Stern. “I don’t like those bounce houses. I’m dead against them.”

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