Where the fun all began
Times have changed since the only option parents had of buying their children something to jump on was the trampoline. Now, in modern times there is the bounce house.
What kid doesn't like to jump up and down on something, bouncing around in midair as if they were flying?
In 1959, John Scurlock had an idea of creating an inflatable cover for tennis courts. Seems his employees had other ideas for the invention once they discovered where they real fun was in his creation. The employees found the thrill of jumping on the inflatable tennis court cover. When the air would run out, they would fill it back up and more fun was had.
Mr. Scurlock saw in this idea something other than just tennis court covers. He formed a company and invented what is now known as the Space Walk. The first bounce house was a simple large mattress with no walls. The idea was to give people the feel as though they were walking on the moon.
In 1960, walls became part of the structure, and given the name Moonwalks in the U.S. This was just the beginning of what now mega money maker.
Then Came Slides and Zoo
The Scurlock family had a vision, but that vision had to be all about children and what they would like and be safe .One of their first creations made like the spacewalk, had to be re-designed due to hot air burning children. This is when two fans got added to cool down the air.
On Thanksgiving Day, 1986, in Metairie, Louisiana, the Scurlock's introduced to families the first indoor inflatable play park. They name the house of fun, "Fun Factory". This would be the first on many to open its doors.
In 1974, children's idea of fun changed. The creation of huge water slides and the inflatable zoo hit the market. This became the Scurlock's biggest money maker. Many new versions of bounce houses, slides and other inflatables are now available, here are a few;
- Inflatable obstacle courses
The obstacle course got designed to offer races and for children to compete against one another. They feature various options such as climbing areas, tunnels, and slides.
The newer inflatables come with games that kids can play. They have, water football, boxing rings, basketball, penalty shootouts, gladiator duels, and tug of war.
- Quad racing is also available with Quad tracks.
The Good, Bad and the Ugly to Inflatables
Anytime you have a bunch of children, especially toddlers playing, there bound to be accidents. The degree of the accident depends on the activity.
Many people will argue that letting toddlers play on inflatables is a bad call. Their ability to stabilize themselves not to fall is just not there. Inflatables just aren't at kids play centers any longer. They now offer a home version too. Are the children safe in these?
Think about how many times you go to a birthday party, carnival, special event or just at a house and there sits a bouncy house. The automatic response from any kid is to go jump in and start having fun, and off they go. Not thinking much danger could come from jumping, right?
We would like to think that all parents would supervise their children, watching the older ones not to hurt the younger ones. That is not always the case. Then you have the person that is working the bounce house for supervision. Their job is to watch and make sure the age groups are appropriate. But, there they are, looking at Facebook.
There goes your toddler off to play and jump in the animal shaped bounce house. What you didn't know there were 10 years old bouncing too. Next thing you know, your toddler is screaming because the larger kids fell on him and you can see he has a broken arm.
The way to keep things such as this from happening is to always watch your child when they play on bounce houses. Make sure there are no older kids in there that can hurt them if there is a fall.
Jumping around and landing in different ways on the body can cause damage to a little body. Injuries have reported are:
How can you prevent your child from injury?
- Children that are 6 and under should never be alone in a bounce house. Parents or a responsible adult should always be with them.
- Small groups at a time, 4 or less of children in the same age group is appropriate.
- Parents need to not allow your kids to do flips, somersaults, or act up AT ALL. This is when most severe injuries happen.
- Supervision is a must! This doesn't mean just being outside. Someone should be there watching at all times, ready to step in and take action when needed.
- Children should ALWAYS take off their shoes, jewelry and eyeglasses. If they any sharp objects on them, remove those too.
- Children should always stay away from the entrance door, exit door and the side (walls).
- If you notice air leaking from the house, immediately stop the children and have them exit the house.
Death Related Accidents
Most deaths that have occurred from bounce house have not been from misconduct. Wind gust are a concern with the safety of children while playing inside.
You must remove your children immediately if you see the weather is changing with the winds picking up. There have been deaths recorded due to this.
- 2003- South Yorkshire boy died from wind gust blowing the house into the air then falling to the ground.
- During a powerful storm, 13 people injured and 2 killed when an extra- large inflatable flew off the ground, hitting people in a crowd at Riverside Park.
- In 2001, 15 people injured and an 8 year old girl killed when an inflatable castle flew into the air cause by a strong wind
- 2011, after taking a head first fall onto a concrete pavement, an 8 year old little died from her injuries.
- 2014 -Glen Falls, NY, 2 boys, ages 5 & 6 injured, one severely, with brain damage. A strong gust of wind picked up the house and spun it in the air 50 feet.
It is crucial that parents remain responsible at all times when there is an inflatable around children.
Where is the good?
- Well, bouncing is FUN. Nothing tires a kid out more than good ole exercise, right?
- Variety: With all the new inflatables, there is something for everyone. The princess castle your daughter will never forget, or the obstacle course your son will talk about for a lifetime.
- Gender easy: Inflatables make all kids happy. You can feel free to invite both girls and boys and be safe.
Option for Special Needs Children:
When parents of those with special needs children look for ways to have a party they can enjoy, many choose inflatables. From toddlers to teenagers, those with autism have various sensory issues. Jumping will help them deal with this. Many therapy sessions include bounce houses.
There are just so many options with the bounce house. Toddlers are our first concern when choosing the right way to have fun.
Always watch out for the little guy, remember to always keep a grown up around. These are great ways to have fun, just be sure and do it the responsible way. Have fun and JUMP!!!