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How Safe Are Inflatable Bounce Houses?

Derrick Blakley Derrick Blakley
Derrick Blakley is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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(CBS) – Inflatable bounce houses are popular for kids’ birthdays and summer block parties, but after one blew away in upstate New York, injuring two young boys, parents are wondering how safe are they?

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley went to find out.

Two young boys, ages 5 and 6, fell 15 to 20 feet, suffering serious head injuries, when gusty winds lifted the bounce house into the air.

“Everything was done properly and that’s the only thing I can say. Nothing was done wrong,” said Stephanie Hansen, a friend on the victims.

The Little Tikes brand bounce house, measuring 8 by 8 feet, was purchased at a toy store. Even a slightly larger commercial model, 13 by 8 feet, isn’t recommended for outdoor use by experts at the fun ones corporation in Carol Stream.

“A 25, 30 mile an hour wind can pick this thing up and the next thing you know its blowing down the street,” said Dale Dambek, The Fun Ones, Inc.

A big, 20-by-20 foot bouncy house is heavier and safer, held in place by multiple ground stakes and heavy nylon tethers set up by professional installers. Still, experts here say, it should be deflated if winds exceed 15 miles per hour.

“A lot of people want to cancel parties because of the rain. Rain doesn’t bother us, it’s more the wind,” said Dambek.

A spokesman for Little Tikes issued a statement saying, “We are looking into what happened…In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with the children and their families.”

Proper installation increases the safety of a bounce house, but it still must be operated with weather conditions in mind.