Inflatable Bounce Houses and Moonwalks - popular entertainment at birthday parties and amusement parks- can be hazardous to your child's health, researchers have warned.
Researchers found 64,657 children under 18 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for inflatable-bouncer-related injuries from 1990-2010. And 55 percent of the walking wounded were boys.
"We just don't see these kinds of increases in the field of injury - it's an epidemic by any measure," the New York Daily News quoted Dr. Gary Smith, the study's lead author and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy in Columbus, Ohio, as saying.
Most alarming was a 15-fold increase in injuries since 1995 from the inflatable Bounce Houses and Moonwalks. Between 2008 and 2010, the number of children who landed in the ER with fractures, sprains and worse more than doubled from 5,345 to 11,311.
"We absolutely want kids to be physically active, but we want them to do it safely," said Smith, who called for national standards, "like there are for trampolines," to reduce the risk.
The study found fractures, strains and sprains were the most common types of injuries. But nearly 19 percent were to the head and neck, which can often be more serious.
"New York has plenty of these inflatable houses so the exposure risk is there and parents should be armed with information to prevent injuries," said Dr. Danielle Laraque, chairwoman of pediatrics at the Maimonides Infants and Children's Hospital of Brooklyn.
Data collected from 100 emergency rooms around the country found 702 kids injured in 1995, jumping to 11,311 in 2010.
Smith said he and his team did not want to be party poopers but simply want to make manufacturers and parents aware of the dangers.
The study was published online in the medical journal Pediatrics. (ANI)