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Bounce houses: Are they safe?

If you have children, you know that birthdays are a big deal, and you have likely held a birthday party or two at your Pennsylvania home. While clowns were once a party staple, today's birthday entertainment often includes a bounce castle or another type of inflatable funhouse. They are also known as moon bounces, bouncers, jumpers and a variety of other names. Whatever you call them, they are great fun and children love them. However, they do come with some risks that you should know about if you are considering such a rental.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that, during the 10-year period between 2003 and 2013, hospitals treated more than 113,000 people for emergency injuries due to inflatable amusements. Another 12 people died, including older teens and adults.

About 88 percent of the injuries occurred to children age 15 and younger, and most injuries were to arms and legs, hand and feet. The cause of death in four cases was suffocation and one drowned, while most others deaths were the result of falls from taller inflatables like slides.

As inflatable amusements have grown in popularity, so has the injury rate. In 2003, an estimated 5,311 people received injuries, while in 2013, the estimate grew to 17,377 injuries, with a spike to 18,841 between 2012 and 2013.

To make a case for product liability, FindLaw explains that a consumer who brings suit must prove that someone, or some company, in the supply chain made or mishandled an unsafe product. The product, in these cases a bounce house, can be unsafe in many ways. It can be an inherent characteristic, meaning that it is naturally unsafe as it is, or it is made unsafe through contamination or mishandling after it is produced. It may also be considered unsafe if it does not carry a proper warning to consumers about its risks or proper instructions for use.

There are many ways consumers can be injured. If you feel your injuries are due to an unsafe product, contact an attorney with experience in product liability for an assessment of your case.

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