A new study in Pediatrics investigates the growing number of injuries to children playing on inflatable bouncers.  Andrew M. Seaman at Reuters  explains:

The number of U.S. children hurt while using inflatable bouncers, such as bounce houses and moonwalks, is 15 times higher than in 1995, according to a new study.

According to the study:

The number and rate of pediatric inflatable bouncer–related injuries have increased rapidly in recent years. This increase, along with similarities to trampoline-related injuries, underscores the need for guidelines for safer bouncer usage and improvements in bouncer design to prevent these injuries among children.

In fact, the number of injuries doubled between 2008-2010 alone!  Seaman describes the problem further:

The number of kids being brought into emergency rooms (ERs) for the injuries increased from 702 in 1995 to 11,311 children in 2010.

Broken bones and sprains were the most common types of injuries with each accounting for about a quarter of the ER visits. Cuts, concussions and bruises made up the rest.

What specifically can parents do to prevent these injuries?  Seaman quotes one of the authors of the study, Gary A. Smith, M.D.:

Smith suggested that parents limit the use of bouncers to children about 6 years old and older, limit the number of children using them at one time, and always have a parent present.

Read article in Pediatrics here.

Read Reuters article here.