An ABC2 News Investigation pointed out a lack of oversight for many bounce houses your kids love to play in. Companies that rent them out solely for private events don't get inspections. So how do you find one that puts safety first? We're working for you with tips.
When you set up a bounce house, it's like a slice of heaven landed in your kid's backyard. Paul Swisher, who runs Perry Hall Moonbounce, says, "You're always the kid's best friend when you arrive but when you come to pick it up, you're always their worst enemy."
But it's the bouncing in between that may actually leave kids crying. A nationwide study found more than 60,000 kids were sent to the ER over 15 years with inflatable related injuries, prompting experts to call for national guidelines. At present, no national guidelines exist.
In Maryland however, there is regulation governing bounce houses and inflatables, but only the ones used in public. ABC2 News Investigators found companies that rent inflatables solely for private parties and events get no inspection or monitoring for safety. Angie Barnett with the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland says, "People are looking for reputable businesses and they're very concerned because this is an unregulated industry."
As a result, you have to know what to look for when you're renting. Barnett says you've got to search the companies' background for complaints through the BBB and the Attorney General's office.
You should also ask the company for referrals, find out whether they have insurance and ask what steps they take to make sure your party is safe from installation to rules you should follow. Barnett says those are key steps for parents, "It's not like we're experienced in managing this so we don't really know all the safety precautions to take so you want to ask and want to do business with someone who has your safety at heart."
Swisher calls safety priority one for his company. That's why he says he installs every inflatable he rents out so he can ensure it's been set up safely, calling it peace of mind for him and the parents. He advises, "If you do come across a company that allows you to come and pick up a moon bounce, avoid those companies."
Keep in mind some rental companies that supply inflatables for private events also supply rentals for public events and therefore their bounce houses have been inspected by the state although regulations governing their use at a private event would not be in effect.