Retailer: bounce house accidents avoidable

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by ALISON MORROW / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @AlisonMorrowTV

KING5.com

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 14 at 11:19 PM

A western Washington bounce house rental company stands by its product as a safe form of amusement for kids despite a recent bounce house accident in New York that seriously injured two young boys.

"Consumers need to do their homework when they go and shop around," explained Steve McCoy. "[They] automatically think that something like this is unsafe, and truly, it's only as safe as the people setting it up."

McCoy owns BouncyHouse.com in Snohomish. He reports no incidents in the retail warehouse's 15 years.

On Monday, witnesses in upstate New York report seeing a bounce house fly nearly 50 feet in the air with three children stuck inside. A 10-year old girl escaped with minor injuries, but 5 and 6-year old boys landed 75 feet apart.

One crashed into a parked car.

"You don't know when that gust of wind is just going to pound it," McCoy said.

Business suffers from incidents like the one on Monday, McCoy admits, even if he cites several main differences between his product and the one that ripped from from its stakes.

His bounce houses typically have 300lbs of sand bags on each side, stress points are held together with quadruple stitching, and the material is commercial grade vinyl, not the nylon often used in recreational grade equipment.

The bounce house that blew away Monday weighed just under 40lbs. McCoy's weigh around 200lbs.

According to police, the bounce house was staked to the ground, but those stakes were plastic. McCoy uses steel stakes, the largest are 3.5 feet long.

His bounce houses also have to pass state inspection each year.

Little Tikes, the manufacturer of the bounce house from Monday's accident, released a statement that they're investigating.

One boy has severe head trauma while the other has two broken arms, a broken jaw and a broken eye socket.

"The last thing you want is a fun day to turn into a tragic day," McCoy said.

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