Outdoor Play

Bounce Houses: The Safe Way to Play

Bounce houses are fun to have at children’s parties and carnivals, but they can still cause serious injuries. Before letting your children see how high they can jump, follow these bounce house safety tips.

STEPS TO SAFETY

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  • USING PROPERLY

    • Only children age 6 and older should use bounce houses. Younger children may not have the balance, coordination or strength to safely enjoy one. 
    • An adult must always be present to supervise. At a park or other similar setting, a trained staff member must be present to supervise. 
    • The safest way to use a bouncer is to allow only one child on it at a time. If more than one child will be using it, make sure they are about the same age and size. 
    • Before entering, have children take off their shoes, glasses, and jewelry. Make sure they empty their pockets of any sharp objects, as well. 
    • Set rules for safe play. Teach children to not roughhouse, tumble, wrestle or do flips. Have them stay away from the entrance or exit, and the sides or walls of the bouncer. 
    • If the bouncer begins to lose air, or if it’s too windy, have all children carefully exit the bouncer. A good indication of when it is too windy (between 13-17 mph) is when winds raise dust and loose paper, or small branches start to move. If this is the case, stop play immediately, and have all children exit the bouncer.
  • THINGS TO KNOW

    • When setting up a bounce house, be sure to read and follow all instructions carefully. 
    • If you are hiring a company to set up a bounce house, make sure the company is insured. Trained staff members should be the ones setting up the bouncer and supervising children. 
    • Be aware that there are no national laws for bounce houses. Even if an insured company has set up and is supervising a bounce house, parents should make sure it has been set up correctly and is safe to use.
  • OUTSIDE SET UP

    • A bounce house should be placed on a flat, even surface. Be sure the area is free of all rocks, sticks or objects sticking up from the ground, like sprinklers. 
    • Never place bounce houses near tree branches, power lines or fences. There should be open space around all sides of the bounce house. 
    • If the bounce house is set up on a hard surface, place a soft surface around the entrance/exit of the bounce house. 
    • Make sure that the bounce house is anchored with long metal stakes that have been driven into the ground (and be sure to do this when children are not around).
  • INSIDE SET UP

    • Place the bounce house away from all walls. There should be open space around all sides of the bounce house. 
    • If the bounce house is set up in a room with hard floors, place a soft surface around the entrance/exit of the bounce house.

Did You Know?


Illustration of an inflatable castle displaying 30 children per day.

30 children a day—about 1 child every 45 minutes—are injured in a bounce house.

- Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital



Thank you


Content developed in association with:

Nationwide Childrens Hospital Safe Kids Worldwide

For more information, go to Our Role.