Rental companies: Wind and securing devices key for bounce house safety

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – With summer right around the corner, a lot of families will be interested in renting out bounce houses for parties and get-togethers. Are they worth the risk, though?

According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, an average of 31 children were treated in emergency rooms every day for bounce house-related injuries in 2010. Of those injuries, arm and leg injuries were the most common.

NewsChannel 15 talked to several rental companies Thursday and they said bounce house-related accidents can be avoided by following simple safety guidelines.

“One of our biggest concerns is people just nod, they’re trying to have their event and they say where do I sign? If people are going over safety instructions, it’s important that you listen. If you follow those rules, nothing out of the ordinary is going to happen,” said Matt Mutton, VP of Bob Mutton Party and Tent Rental.

When someone wants to rent from local party companies like Bob Mutton Party and Tent Rental or A Party Apart, they have to sign a lot of paperwork. From liability waivers to rental contracts, there is plenty of information on how to stay safe.

“We haven’t had any issues, not that that means that everything is perfect, but we’ve got a pretty good policy, procedure packet, that we go over with customers. I think because of that, there haven’t been any big issues. It’s right on our contracts. We go over it when they order it. They go over it when they pick it up. Our guys go over it when they deliver it, so it’s really kind of an education process more than anything else,” said Mutton.

Rental company owners say the two biggest factors are wind and what’s holding down the bounce house.

“If it’s forecasted over 15 to 20 miles an hour winds, you’re flirting with potential problems,” said Mutton.

The bounce houses can be weighted down with weights or stakes in the ground, but rental company owners said the stakes are actually better. The weights can shift around, and the stakes offer more stability.

“The industry has done a safety survey on it and the stakes have a greater holding power than just weight ballast,” said Jim Brockmann, co-owner of A Party Apart.

The only time the companies said they’ll use weights over stakes is if the bounce house is indoors and out of the elements. If the inflatables are outdoors, the stakes are a better option because they’re able to hold much more weight.

“Most stakes depending on how big they are, but they may hold anywhere from 100 to 1,000 pounds,” said Mutton.

Above all, rental company owners said it’s crucial for people renting the bounce houses to take the set-up seriously.

“Follow the safety instructions if they’re going to install it themselves. If they’re going to have it delivered, our people and almost everybody in Fort Wayne area is well-trained,” said Brockmann.

The bounce houses are supposed to be a fun activity, and rental companies said they want to make sure it stays that way.

“We don’t want people to get hurt. Our slogan is we rent fun . So, when we do big events and we’re training people on how to operate things, you know, if you’re hurt, you’re not having fun,” said Mutton.

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