Last month, two boys in New York were injured after falling 20 feet from an inflatable bounce house swept into the air by a gust of wind. Last week, two children in Colorado were injured when the inflatable bounce house in which they were playing rolled across a field due to heavy winds. Now, our good friends at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) are launching their own investigation into the fun that is the casa de aire. In a statement given to USA Today, CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson stated:
We’re going to look into what were the conditions prior to the incident, what led to the incident itself. . . [T]he fact that we are focusing on these two show that we are making it a priority.
The inflatable house industry might want to ask Buckyballs what it is like to be number 1 on the CPSC’s hit list.
We here at Abnormal Use are traditionally not big fans of the CPSC. This latest investigation is likely not going to alter that status. The CPSC has a useful purpose – to regulate product safety. Apparently, that focus has extended into regulating the weather itself. If these were cases of children injured because the inflatables posed a strangulation or similar-type hazard, then the CPSC has its role. But, that is not the case. Both of these incidents are freak accidents resulting from extreme gusts of wind. The problem is not with the product itself, but rather with the use of the product in certain weather conditions.
We do not know what product warnings the inflatable bounce houses may possess. If they haven’t already done so, we imagine the manufacturers will add a “Do not use in heavy winds” warning as a result of this investigation. Certainly the warning would be useful to those unaware that a product filled with air could be carried away by the wind.
(Editor’s note: We blogged on bounce houses way, way back in 2010. For that post, please see here.).