Inflatables such as bounce houses have become a common aspect of festivals, special events or even birthday parties. And why not, kids love them! Although inflatables are fun for all, they may not be ideal for an event. An estimated 30 US children a day are sent to the emergency room for inflatable entertainment device related accidents. These range from minor sprains to serious head injuries. Additionally, some insurance carriers choose to limit and even exclude rebounding devices like bounce houses.
If you choose to have an inflatable entertainment device at your event, either for fun or a fundraising event, there are a few considerations to mitigate your risk:
- Confirm your insurance program will cover this exposure (i.e. does it exclude rebounding devices?).
- Ideally, contract with a firm that both rents and provides a trained operator to supervise the inflatable device.
- The contract with the amusement company should include indemnification/hold harmless wording and name the employer as an additional insured. When this is not feasible, set some ground rules:
- Any inflatable amusement device should only be used while supervised by an adult.
- Avoid overcrowding – limit the participants to the number recommended by the manufacture.
- Don’t allow young children to bounce with much older, heavier kids or adults.
- Prohibit kids from doing flips.
- Forbid deliberate collisions with others.
- Many amusement companies offer contracts which are heavily slanted in their favor and most have limited insurance coverage in place. It is a Best Practice to secure a copy of the contract as well as the amusement company’s insurance policy and submit to Austin & Co., Inc. 90 days in advance for review.