We wanted to set up the bounce house one weekend, but there was rain in the forecast. I wondered, can we use the bounce house in the rain? After plenty of research, and personal experience, I have an answer.
A bounce house can get wet and be used in light rain or drizzle with no expected damage to the bounce house. However, many bounce house rental companies will not deliver when severe weather conditions are expected, and will have policies stating that the bounce house may not be used when wet.
Although many rental companies won’t want you jumping on a wet bounce house, you can still safely get away with it if you own one yourself. There are some things to keep in mind though.
Can A Bounce House Get Wet?
Yes, bounce houses can get wet without causing damage to them. Most bounce houses are designed to handle small amounts of water, enough to clean them at least. If you’re not using a bounce house built for water, it’s probably not made for large amount of water. But a spray from the hose or a drizzle of rain won’t hurt.
There are certain types of bounce houses made to be used with water. They will even have a built in sprinkler system, water slide, or water pool attached. These types of bounce houses can most definitely get wet, and are recommended if you plan on playing with water in your bounce house.
I have a favorite water bounce house in my 12 Best Bounce House List that is made for water and has a built in water slide. Some of the bounce houses on that list can be used with or without water. It just depends what the bounce house was designed for.
Bounce houses not built for water can still get wet. A cool down spray from the hose can feel nice, but you will need to let the bounce house completely dry out before taking it down
You can still play with water on a regular bounce house, but I wouldn’t suggest doing so for long periods of time. The bounce houses that are built for water, typically use different materials. Certain materials will hold moisture for longer, affecting the time it takes to dry out and clean the bounce house.
Here’s a quick walk around video of a bounce house that can be used with or without water. Notice how the slide section has another layer of material, that part is meant to have water on it.
Protect The Blower
If you are going to spray down the bounce house here and there, or if it starts to rain, I recommend you cover or protect the blower. The bounce house may be able to get wet, but the blower and electrical cords can not. Water getting into the blower could damage the unit, it’s best to keep water away from it.
Be careful covering the blower completely though. It will still need to be able to suck air in to inflate the bounce house. Don’t just wrap a trash bag around it. Instead, just put something over it to prevent the rain from falling on it. Consider using an umbrella or an upside down plastic tote. The blower will try to compensate for the lower amount of available air, and it could burn out the motor.
How To Use A Bounce House In The Rain
Most bounce house rental companies will tell you: if it starts to rain, get everyone off the bounce house, wait until the rain stops, and dry the bounce house before you use it again. This is mostly for safety reasons of jumping on the wet surface.
There are some good reasons they require this, I will talk about the dangers of a wet bounce house later. But, I think not jumping at all because of a little rain is going a bit overboard. On a hot summers day, some rain actually makes the bounce house more fun, and helps reduce uncomfortable sweating from jumping.
Jumping in the rain can sometimes make a bounce house more fun. Just be careful of the dangers, and limit the amount of jumpers in the bounce house at a time.
Try to keep the size of the jumper in mind. The bounce house can be a bit more slippery when wet, so have groups of smaller kids and bigger kids take turns jumping. Limiting the bounce house to two people at a time when it’s wet is another good option.
If you want to prevent the jumping surface from getting wet at all, consider laying a tarp over the top of the bounce house. For some bounce houses, like ones with slides, it will be difficult to cover the whole thing. But for others, a tarp will nicely cover the entire jumping surface.
Here’s a quick video explaining why you should never take your bounce house down if it starts raining.
Dangers Of A Wet Bounce House
There is a reason rental companies don’t want you jumping on a wet bounce house. It’s mainly for safety reasons, but over time, excessive water on the bounce house material can speed up how quickly the bounce house wears out. The rental companies are trying to protect their investment.
From a safety stand point, the bounce house will be a lot more slippery when it gets wet. You are more likely to slip and fall or knock down other jumpers in the bounce house. That’s why limiting the amount of jumpers, or dividing jumping groups up by size is a good idea. Even a dry bounce house has its risks, but when it’s wet, be a little more careful.
Between 2003 and 2013 there were over 113,000 emergency department treated injuries associated with inflatable amusements. Most of these injuries were to legs and arms.www.cpsc.gov (source)
I realize that number was from a long time ago, but the statistic is still worth noting here. Bounce houses can be dangerous, whether wet or dry. So take precautions and make sure everyone knows to be safe. If someone falls down, make sure everyone knows to help them out before you keep jumping.
Safety Tips For Using A Wet Bounce House:
- Supervise the bounce house at all times
- No sharp objects allowed inside bounce house
- No jewelry allowed on bounce house
- Only similar sized or aged kids at the same time
- Follow the max occupancy limit rating
- Stay under the weight limit
- Anyone with health issues should not use the bounce house
How To Dry Out A Bounce House
If you plan on letting your bounce house get wet, this is the most important step you can take. Make sure the bounce house is completely dried out before storing it. One of the main reasons bounce houses wear out quickly and grow mold or mildew is because they weren’t properly dried out before being stored.
Properly drying out a bounce house can more than double its lifespan. The seams will hold up longer, and the bounce house material will last longer when dried and stored the right way.
The easiest way to dry out a bounce house, is to leave it running in the sun for about 6 hours or more. You’ll want to take a towel and remove as much water from the bounce house as you can by hand. Wipe in between any flaps and seams with a towel. Partially open the zippers if you have any, that will help allow the moist air to escape from inside the bounce house.
Steps To Dry Out A Bounce House:
- Wipe water off with a towel
- Dry out seams and in-between flaps and areas
- Partially open any zippers
- Remove water from inside with towel
- Let bounce house air and sun dry for 5 hours
You will want to get any standing water out from inside the bounce house before letting it sit for 6 hours. If you only had a small amount of water on the bounce house to begin with, there probably isn’t any inside it. But if you had a lot of rain or were soaking the bounce house down, water may have leaked to the inside.
Just crawl in through one of the zipper holes, bring a towel and something to get you out in an emergency, like a knife. Use the towel to soak up as much water as you can. It’s ok if there’s still some damp spots, but you want to make sure there is no standing water that won’t quickly dry out. Then just let the bounce house air dry for a half a day before taking it down.
Unsafe Weather For A Bounce House
Although a bounce house can get wet and increase your clean up time. There are some weather conditions that you should not be jumping on the bounce house in. A little rain and drizzle is fine, but anything more than that can become dangerous.
At the first sign of lightning, it’s probably best to just head inside. High winds can also cause dangerous conditions inside a bounce house. If the winds are over 20 mph, it doesn’t matter how well the bounce house is staked down, it’s not safe to jump in.