Tom Gill’s research on risk of wind hazards to kiddie bounce houses receives national attention
Thomas (Tom) Gill co-authored a study documenting wind-related bounce house incidents, finding 132 incidents from 2000-2021 that resulted in at least 479 injuries and 28 deaths.
“The last fatal accident involving wind and a bounce house happened in 2019 in Reno, Nevada, when winds lifted up a jumping castle with three children inside and into electrical power lines, injuring two of the kids and killing a 9-year-old girl,” Gill told TODAY. “We documented these types of incidents from all over the world.” Gill noted that because they are inflated by air, “they are very buoyant, like a giant balloon.”
“When the winds get to be too much, these bounce houses need not only to be evacuated but also deflated,” Gill told UGA Today. “There have been cases where a bounce house was empty, but it blew away and struck a bystander.”
But in just under half the recorded incidents, there was no abnormal hazard, and locally observed winds were below 25 mph — the threshold at which the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) advises that bounce houses not be used, reported the Washington Post.
The July 2022 study also showed children can become injured in bounce houses if they're jumped on or knocked into by other children, if they fall out, or if the house deflates or collapses, suffocating them. “For every wind-related bounce house accident, there are many, many other types of incidents and injuries,” Gill told TODAY.
The authors state "increased vigilance is therefore necessary on the part of bounce house providers and consumers to avoid wind-related incidents," and have created a website to spread this information to the public and provide safety tips at: http://www.weathertobounce.com/.