Every parent fears their child getting hurt. Despite taking every reasonable precaution, though, accidents are bound to occur. When they do, it’s usually in unsuspected ways.
In an article earlier this year, we covered some of them.
In this post, learn about one of the most prevalent of common injuries befalling children here in New York, and if your child becomes involved, what you can do next.
Bounce House Child Injury Incidents Are Growing
Bounce houses seem relatively harmless on the surface – big, soft and cushiony places children to play. However, the number of injuries caused by bounce houses has seen a sharp increase in recent years: 5,311 injuries in 2003 vs. 20,700 in 2017. Unfortunately, some of these injuries were quite severe.
For instance, one 5-year-old boy from Oklahoma suffered gruesome injuries inside of a bounce house. The bounce house was designed with a padded wrecking ball in the middle for children to play with.
As the boy got close to the wrecking ball, his arm got stuck on an exposed hook on the wrecking ball, giving him a 3-inch deep gash across his arm.
Inside bouncy houses, children run into and fall on each other. They jump and twist and fall awkwardly. There have even been documented cases of bounce houses flying away after a strong gust of wind while children were inside it.
All of these things increase the risk of children injuring themselves, many quite dramatically. So what happens when your child becomes the one involved?
Who Can New Yorkers Hold Responsible When Injury Occurs?
Depending on the circumstances in which the injury occurred, there are different parties that may be held liable. Generally speaking, liability can fall under two categories: product liability and negligence.
Those involved in developing, manufacturing, and marketing a given product all have a legal obligation to ensure that their products are safe, devoid of serious defects, and all potential hazards are labeled.
If any individual party does not take the proper precautions to do so, they may be held liable in a product liability case. In order to win a product liability case, at least one of the following elements must be proven:
- Defective in Design. There was a safety problem with the product’s design.
- Defective in Manufacture. During the manufacturing process, the product was not brought up to the required or intended standards, creating a safety flaw.
- Lacked Adequate Warnings. The product did not display adequate warnings for potential hazards.
When an injury occurs, either the Individuals who purchased or rented it or the family of the child who suffered an injury may choose to pursue a liability lawsuit against the company.
If the bouncy house was being operated at a facility or as a part of an entertainment event, injuries may be classified as negligence, instead.
The owner or operator of a bounce house has a responsibility to ensure that it is safe for use, and not doing so may be breaching their duty of care.
This duty of care also includes things such as making sure the bounce house is not overcrowded, supervising children and stopping roughhousing, and securing the bounce house to the ground.
In the case of the 5-year-old Oklahoma boy, the bounce house operator may be liable for breaching their duty of care because they did not inspect the wrecking ball prior to use. This means that they could be responsible for damages in a negligence case.
We know – it’s all really scary. Does it mean you should start avoiding bouncy houses, though? Absolutely not. Dangers are everywhere, and you can’t keep your children in a bubble. Stay vigilant, certainly, but let them play.
If something does happen, now at least you know there are legal resources available to help you and your family hold the responsible parties liable and get your lives back on track.