Bounce houses are an inflatable playground the whole family can enjoy. There are steps you can take to prevent accidents. But under what conditions can a bounce house fly away?
Yes, a bounce house can fly away if not secured correctly with stakes at least 18 inches long or sand bags at least 40 pounds in weight. Even with proper securing, strong winds can pull stakes out of the ground and blow a bounce house away. A bounce house should never be used in winds above 20 MPH.
There are many reported cases of a bounce house being picked up by the wind with people in them. In order to prevent that from happening, there are a few set rules to follow when properly securing a bounce house.
Dangers Of Not Properly Securing A Bounce House
There are cases reported every year of a bounce house being picked up by a gust of wind and carried away with people still inside. Sometimes children get hurt in these cases. The most common cause of this happening is a bounce house was not properly secured or the bounce house was in use during times of high winds.
Here are a few cases reported by various news sources:
A 9-year-old boy was playing inside a bounce house in his frontyard in Adelanto on Saturday afternoon when strong winds swept the inflated enclosure onto a nearby highway a few hundred feet away.Los Angeles Times (source)
A bouncy house was swept away by a gust of wind Monday, sending two boys and a girl inside flying 50 feet into the air.Huffpost (source)
Five children were injured when a strong wind picked up two bounce houses at a church carnival in South Carolina on Saturday, sending one of the inflatables into a tree and the other into a power line, authorities said.CNN (source)
A bounce house being rented for some birthday party fun was carried away by a gust of wind Saturday, colliding with power lines as a result.Time (source)
If you don’t secure the bounce house properly, the bounce house can easily be picked up by the wind, or at the very least blown over. With anyone inside, the risk of injury is high in these cases. The jumpers could be thrown from the bounce house while airborne or tumble over one another.
Here’s a video of a news story from WMAR-2 covering one of these bounce house incidents.
Here’s another video reported by MSNBC showing a couple more bounce house incidents, and the importance of securing it properly.
I don’t mean to scare you away from using a bounce house. In fact, when properly secured, bounce houses are really safe. Just keep in mind that securing the bounce house and not jumping during high winds are the most important factors in bounce house safety. Follow the tips in this article to make sure you never have a bounce house accident yourself.
How To Secure A Bounce House
There’s a few things to consider when properly securing a bounce house. I wrote an article with detailed instruction on Places To Set Up A Bounce House, follow that link for step by step instruction for setting up a bounce house on multiple terrain types. In this article I will just cover securing or anchoring the bounce house properly.
Securing A Bounce House In Grass
Most bounce houses you can rent or buy will come with stakes for securing into grass, dirt, and soil. But I suggest getting these Spiral Ground Anchors from Amazon for a bit of extra anchoring. The peace of mind is worth the cost in my opinion.
Some of you might think using these ground anchors is a bit overkill, but knowing the bounce house is securely held in place is worth it to me. We just leave them in the ground because we typically set the bounce house up in the same spot every time, so it’s not even any extra work to use these once you have them in place.
Here’s a video showing someone anchoring their bounce house with these to give you a visual of how they work.
Securing A Bounce House On Concrete
When securing the bounce house on concrete, pavement, or in the driveway, your only options are going to be tying the bounce house to something heavy. I suggest using these Vinyl Sand Bags (link to Amazon) made specifically for securing bounce houses, but anything heavy will work, like concrete bricks, water bags, or heavy weights.
Here’s a video of a couple guys setting up a bounce house on a concrete slab, notice how they use heavy sand bags at each corner of the bounce house as it’s inflating.
Hopefully I’ve given you some good ideas for securing your bounce house. Other than just securing it properly, there are some things to look out for to make sure you’re using the bounce house safely.
Avoid High Winds
If your forecast is showing high winds for the day, it’s probably best to not set the bounce house up at all. Even with proper securing, the bounce house can basically act as sail, trapping all that wind will lift the bounce house enough to pull most stakes right out of the ground.
The spiral ground anchors I mentioned above will hold through much stronger winds than standard stakes, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the winds will reach speeds above 20 MPH, it’s strongly recommended that no one use a bounce house, no matter how well it’s staked down.
You can tell it’s too windy if the tops of the trees start to shake and sway with the wind. Some areas are less windy than others, just use your best judgement. If your hat blows off in the wind, don’t use the bounce house.
Avoid Bodies Of Water
Although the bounce house is staked down and secured properly, there are still risks of an unexpected gust of wind, or jumpers getting to rowdy, knocking over the bounce house. Because of this, it’s recommended to never set a bounce house up next to a pool or other body of water.
Avoid These Areas:
- Drainage Ditch
The beach is actually a debatable area. I’ve seen bounce houses set up on the beach and nothing ever went wrong or was unsafe about it. Just keep the bounce house away from the water about four lengths of the bounce house size. Picture the bounce house rolling completely over, it should still not be near any water.
Setting the bounce house up on solid flat ground is great to make sure the bounce house doesn’t shift when in use, but firm ground also ensures the stakes are harder to pull out. If you stake the bounce house down into soft sandy soil, they will be easy to pull up. One strong gust or a heavy jumper hitting the side could pull up a stake and tip the bounce house.
If you need to set up the bounce house on sandy soil, I suggest using the vinyl sand bags I mentioned above as well as the stakes, just to be sure everything’s secured properly.
Inspect The Bounce House
It’s always a good idea to walk around the bounce house checking for any rips or tears in the material. A weak point on the bounce house could make a tip over occur more easily.
Things To Check For:
- Rips and tears
- Anchor straps
- Any ropes used for anchoring
- Weight limit
- Max occupancy limit
- Rules printed on the side
Maximum Occupancy And Weight Limits
Every bounce house will be rated for a maximum weight limit, and a maximum amount of jumpers allowed at a time. The maximum occupancy is to prevent too many kids jumping at a time in a set area. The smaller bounce houses will only allow 2 or 3 at a time, while the larger ones can allow up to 10.
The weight limit is what you want to look out for in terms of a tipping hazard. The bounce house is only built to hold its weight limit or less. If you put more weight than it can handle, the bounce house will lose its ability to stay fully inflated and could easily tip over.
In the list of My Favorite Bounce Houses I state the weight limits and maximum occupancy of the bounce houses. It’s best to get one that will fit your needs, rather than overloading a bounce house and causing risks to the jumpers.