Bouncing Their Way to the ER

Inflatable bouncer injuries increasing over past twenty years

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Bounce houses for young children are a popular way for parents to let kids run off their energy. But like other forms of boisterous play, inflatable bouncers come with risks.

A recent study revealed that injuries resulting from playing on bouncers have been increasing in recent years. Over 20 years, more than 64,000 children have been treated for bouncer-related injuries.

The rate of injury more than doubled between 2008 and 2010. The 2010 rate equates to 31 children going to emergency rooms every day for injuries from inflatable bouncers.

"Supervise kids on inflatable bouncers."

The study, led by Meghan C. Thompson, BA, from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, looked at bouncer-related injuries from 1990 through 2010. The researchers used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System for all children under 17 who went to emergency rooms for injuries related to inflatable bouncers.

These are the giant bounce-houses that are found at carnivals or birthday parties.

The researchers found that approximately 64,657 children were treated in emergency rooms during the study period, but the rate of injury began rapidly increasing after 1995 – especially in the past few years.

The average age of the children getting hurt was 7 years old, and the most common injuries were fractures, sprains and strains. About 28 percent of the injuries were fractures and 27 percent were sprains or strains. Fractures were three times more likely to occur in children's arms and shoulders.

About 33 percent of the injuries were in the lower extremities, such as children's feet or ankles, and 30 percent were upper-extremity injuries. Just under 19 percent of the injuries were head- and neck-related.

The most common place where children got hurt were at sports or recreation centers, where 44 percent of the children were before going to the emergency room. Another 38 percent were injured at home.

The rate of serious injury was smaller: 3.4 percent of the children were hospitalized or kept overnight for observation.

The most common reason for injury was falling, which was the cause for 43 percent of the children's injuries. Falling into or on the bouncer was more likely to cause injury than falling out or jumping out of it. The researchers said that the rapid increase in injuries related to bouncer use show that safer guidelines and design improvements are necessary to slow the injury rate.

The study was published November 26 in the journal Pediatrics. The research did not use external funding and the authors had no conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 23, 2012
Last Updated:
November 26, 2012