Are bouncy houses killing lots of kids? Well, you don't see summer carnivals littered with lifeless little bounced-out bodies. Nonetheless, it's a question the University of Georgia felt compelled to study—on your dime.
In a paper titled, "Do Inflatable Bounce Houses Pose Heat-related Hazards to Children?" published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, scholars in the Peach State determined that the inside of bouncy houses can get… wait for it… hot. Hotter than the weather outside.
And so, reports this article from Science Daily:
Heat safety issues in bounce houses can put children in danger, according to a new University of Georgia study.
Expanding on the concept of microclimates like those in parked vehicles that cause serious injuries to children, the study investigated potential heat-related risks associated with bounce houses, which create a microclimate environment similar to automobiles but one that had not been previously examined.
Let's hope this is just the tip of the heat-berg. There are so many childhood "microclimates" that have not been previously examined! Think of all the kids getting dangerously sweaty in their krav maga classes. And what of the heat they're cruelly exposed to at marshmallow roasts? And hopscotch in the direct sun? Each square is a potential inferno!
But of course, all that pales in comparison to the danger of bouncy houses.
The professor in charge of the study, Andrew Grundstein, reminds us that, "Heat illnesses like heat stroke can be deadly and occur in children participating in sports, left alone in parked cars, and as our study shows, potentially when playing in bounce houses."
He's so right. Kids can potentially die pretty much anywhere, even "participating in sports." Why haven't we prohibited sports yet either?
While not proposing any actual bounce house regulations, Grundstein is warning parents to be on the lookout for signs of overheating kids when they are "active on hot and humid days."
Active kids in the summer = bad.
And how will us clueless parents know if our kids have overdone it? One sign, according to Grundstein, is "flushed, moist skin."
Yes, once a kid's skin is flushed and moist, all bets are off.
Kudos to the University of Georgia scientists for spending their research time so wisely. It's amazing how we overlooked a danger simply because there was no evidence of it actually hurting anyone.