Every parent is worried about the safety of their child. Natural instincts direct us to act accordingly when our child is in danger. But who would have imagined that something as safe as inflatable bouncers would be fatal? Inflatable bouncers, also known as moonwalks have become a major amusement attraction for kids. Being easily available, they have now become a part of backyard playthings and birthday party attractions. However along with their rising popularity, there is also an increase in number of children landing up in emergency department due to injuries caused by these play things. According to reports, there has been a 15 fold increase in injuries caused due to inflatable bouncer from 1990 to 2010.
There have been studies conducted previously that determined the amount of fractures caused to the upper extremities and also fractures caused due to collision. However, previous studies did not include non- fracture injuries or use nationally representative data for investigating injuries caused by inflatable bouncers.
The present study uses nationally representative data for calculating national injury rates and assessing the risk factors. It also monitors the trends in injuries caused by inflatable bouncers and their treatment in US emergency departments over a 21 year period, from 1990 to 2010.
Research on injuries related to inflatable bouncers
The new study was conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The research used various methodologies such as data sources like demographic characteristics, product codes, injury diagnosis etc. The data at hand was analyzed to conclude the results.
What were the results?
The study published the result that found that the most common type of injuries caused by inflatable bouncers included fractures- 28%, strains or sprains- 27%. 1 in every 5 injuries- 19% was to the head and neck. The most common cause of injury was falls- 43%, which was followed by collisions and stunts. Most of the injuries occurred either in a recreational setting (44%) such as parks and gardens or at home (38%).
The results of this study clearly depict that there is a lot of risk associated with the inflatable bouncer. The alarming increase in number of injuries due to this play equipment clearly suggests how unsafe it is. It is time that strict action be taken in order to prevent these injuries. In order to be able to reduce the injuries, parents need to be made aware of the consequences, improve surveillance, develop better safety standards and improve the design of the bouncer.
The study author also shows that the pattern of injury for inflatable bouncer and trampolines is very alike; but as compared to inflatable bouncers, trampolines have national safety guidelines for its proper use whereas no such guidelines exist for the use of inflatable bouncers.
There are no recommendations made by the medical or public health community regarding the safe use of inflatable bouncers. According to Dr. Gary A. Smith, M.D, Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, it is high time that the medical and public health community regarded injuries caused by inflatable bouncer a serious issue and help in formulating safety rules and guidelines. In his opinion, until national safety guidelines are not in place, parents should be vigilant and consider the risks before allowing their children to play on the inflatable bouncers. He also recommends the age limit of 6 years and above to play on the equipment as they are less susceptible to the injuries, yet constant adult supervision is a must. Also, only one child at a time should play on the bouncer, if there is more than one then they should be of the approximate same age and size.
The study is the first one that uses nationally representative samples to determine the injuries associated with inflatable bouncer that were treated in the US emergency departments from the last 21 years. The data analysis has helped understand the gravity of the situation and thus educate the masses of its harmful effects.
Michelle Tyler provides meaningful information regarding the latest technologies and therapies used to deal with various ailments to joints. An experienced medical writer, she hopes her articles provide sufficient information to help orthopedic joint surgery patients.