The hit television program, Modern Family has quickly become a modern classic. It captures humanity in ways that few programs have. The first season had an episode where Phil and Claire throw a birthday party for Luke where it was a huge hit, with activities for all of Luke’s friends and family alike.
The party included the following venues; a zip line running across the yard, a 15 foot rock-climbing wall, exotic pets which included a python and a scorpion, and of course the obligatory inflatable bounce house. Luke was also running around the party with his new fully functioning crossbow, a gift from his grandfather.
With so many dangerous accidents waiting to happen, something was bound to go wrong and it does, however it’s a family comedy, so nobody dies or gets seriously hurt. But what about real life? What if a slip and fall accident occurs? What happens when the party for your 10-year old son’s friend goes horribly wrong?
In The News
Two recent incidents involving bounce houses were severe enough to make the news. One bounce house in New York was blown away by a gust of wind with three children inside. The young girl fell out early but the two 10-year-old boys fell out from a height of over 15 feet. One hit a parked car and the other hit the ground. They were both hospitalized with serious injuries. Another incident hitting the newsfeed shortly after happened in Colorado with only minor injuries to the children trapped inside.
But these were just freak accidents; right? Not hardly. The local news coverage in New York quoted a nationwide study from 2012 indicating that 30 children per day are admitted to the emergency room across the country with injuries sustained in bounce houses.
30 Kids Seriously Hurt Every Day?
With 30 children sent to the hospital every day, shouldn’t that raise at least one giant red flag? With this knowledge, are there precautions you can take before sending your child to the next birthday party?
It is always a good idea to find out from the parent or other adult hosting the party as to the activities that will take place and who will be supervising. You should ask if the activity has a recommended age level. If there are simply too many children coming and not enough adult supervision, perhaps you should only allow your child to attend the party if you or another family member can go as well.
However, what happens when an injury happens at the birthday party? And who is liable when your child is injured? The first place to look for liability when your child takes an unscheduled flight aboard a bounce house is the homeowner or property owner where the bounce house was set up. You have the right to believe your child will be safe attending a scheduled party. Laws governing premise liability state that the homeowner would be primarily liable for any injuries your child might incur in the bounce house.
The next place to look for liability would be the company that rented out the bounce house. Did they include proper supervision with their product? Did the company observe proper safety precautions, including adequate staking and checking the weather for any possible microburst? Did the bounce house break free due to poor maintenance? Regardless of the reason, bounce houses are not supposed to take flight, and with the propensity for them to do just that, if one does take flight, a liable party dropped the ball.
If you are throwing a party or attending one, you need to be aware of the dangers. If you aren’t sure your child will be safe, you should attend the party yourself to supervise. If you are putting on the party yourself, make sure there is enough adult supervision for the amount of children you have coming. Also, only hire a reputable company that is insured if renting a bounce house or other equipment. While everyone wants to be the “fun parent,” you will be glad you took extra precautions before sending your child to a party or hosting one yourself.