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July 14, 2021

Keep Kids Safe When Using Inflatable Slides, Jumpers

A post on the Consumer Reports Safety Blog, "Inflatable Accidents Are Up, Up and Away," caught my eye yesterday, and I wanted to share it with you. 

(Disclosure: I work part-time as the social-media reporter for Consumer Reports at @CReporter on Twitter. Actually, it's a job that comes in very handy for me as a parenting writer, because I learn about these issues from folks who really know how to test equipment and check on safety issues.)

Recently an 11-year-old boy flew 40 feet into the air, clinging to a poorly anchored inflatable slide that was caught by a gust of wind. Fast-thinking parents punctured the slide and brought it back to earth before the boy was injured.

But, as CR notes: "The newest numbers from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which were last updated in 2005, are sobering. The CPSC reported four fatalities in inflatable-related accidents from 2002 to 2005. In 2004, the most recent year for which we found complete data, inflatable rides, such as inflatable slides and bouncers, accounted for an estimated 4,900 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms, according to the agency. That was up sharply from 1997, when the CPSC estimated only 1,300 such injuries -- a whopping 277 percent increase in just eight years (a time in which inflatables grew in popularity)."

My son has been bouncing in inflatable jumpers and sliding down inflatable slides since he was a preschooler. When he was little, I made sure he wasn't getting jumped on by the bigger kids, but I didn't realize the dangers in these structures being caught by a burst of wind or suddenly deflating.

Does this mean we need to stop using inflatable slides and jumpers? I don't think so. But should adults supervise their use and be available to prevent kid pile-ups and to make sure the structure is safe? Absolutely.


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