When a child sees a bouncy house their eyes light up and their little legs seem to instinctively run towards it. The giant inflatable castles are a symbol of endless fun and are as irresistible to kids as a triple-scoop ice cream cone is. They love to play and bounce around for hours on end in the colorful things. Parents love them too because it keeps their children busy in one place and tires them out. It also gives many a false sense of security. Adults assume kids have less of a chance of getting hurt in these cushioned enclosures, but that’s not the case. Parents need to be aware, and on the lookout, for possible dangers that are lurking in the walls of these bouncy castles.
One woman, Brenda Sanderson, found this out the hard way. She took her two sons to a graduation party and while she mingled with friends and family they played in a bouncy house that had been rented for the occasion. They had a blast jumping around, going down the slide, wrestling, and doing all the rough and tumble stuff that boys love to do. Fast forward 2 days, which is when Brenda noticed odd looking marks on her 10 year old son’s arm. She asked him what it was and he said he thought it was from the bouncy castle and assumed the plastic had somehow burned his skin. When Brenda noticed the sores had spread to his tummy she immediately took him to the hospital.
At first doctors had no idea what it was, but when Brenda mentioned he had been in a bounce castle, a light went off. At that point the doctor knew it was a staph infection. The sores were likely caused by bacteria that had stuck to the plastic of the inflatable castle, similar to the way bacteria commonly sticks to wrestling mats. The two things are breeding grounds for bacteria since they are rarely washed and cleaned properly. Combine that with lots of people using them, stepping all over the place and tracking in dirt, germs, bacteria, and so on, and you have the perfect environment for contracting a staph infection.
The news program featured in the video spoke with a public safety official who told them state regulations require owners to maintain bounce castles in accordance with manufacturer requirements. These vary as to care and maintenance instructions, and generally advise vacuuming and wiping it down with a mild cleaner after each use. However, realistically it’s impossible to know if the bouncy house your child is about to play in has been cleaned at all, or ever. The only way to be sure is if you personally see it done or do it yourself. After watching this video and hearing the warning, think twice before letting your child play in a bounce castle, and make sure it’s as safe as possible.