Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It was about five years ago in May when we visited our granddaughter, Jessica,  to celebrate her 6th birthday.  We took our adorable Maltese puppy, Mindy with us.  She was about three months old and an excellent traveler. We felt very fortunate  having her house trained so early.

 While my daughter in law was busy preparing for the birthday party, our son was helping with balloon blowing in the house. Sitting out side enjoying the beautiful weather,  my husband and I watched the man assemble and blow up the bounce house.  All children enjoy bouncing in it. 

My husband commented that one stake was not inserted into the ground because the bounce house was  mostly on the lawn and partly on the street.  The property was not level, as he tried to do the best he could.  "I do not think this is secure"  my husband said to the man, as he was concerned that the day might get too windy.  He assured us that he knew what he was doing and it would be okay to leave one rope  unsecured in the ground.  He had a huge gasoline driven inflating machine over the unsecured rope holding it down in place.

It was wonderful watching the children arrive with their colorful wrapped presents.  They immediately removed their shoes and went on line to jump in the bounce house.  "Only 6 children under a certain weight" the man said.  So everyone had to take turns going into the house.  We felt good about his rules.

Sitting outside watching the children having fun was amusing.  Mindy was tied up to the camping chair and we enjoyed the beautiful weather.  How wonderful it felt.  Coming from Florida where the humidity was high  it seemed like we lived  in a bubble. The strong sun and cool breeze felt good flowing through me that day  The fresh air was exhilarating, making me doze off.

Suddenly  a strong gust of wind came in.  I was awoken by Mindy's barking, which was the first time I heard her bark so loud.  I could not believe my eyes and thought I was still sleeping with a bad dream.  The bounce house was rolling over the cars and pickup trucks. Tumbling like a wheel with the wind pushing the wheel.  "Oh my God" I yelled.  "The children are in the bounce house.  Somebody help me catch the house."  I ran as fast as I could trying to catch it  preventing it from tumbling further down the street.  But it was a giant house with the  heavy  gas  blower machine attached to the ropes.  All I could think of was the poor children tumbling like clothes in a washing machine but without suds. 

 "Could they survive"  Where are all the neighbors  who were just outside?" I cried,  as I was running to catch it.  But I fell flat on my stomach and was screaming.  It was amazing I did not get a heart attack at that moment.  I worried about the children being injured or killed. And what if there were children playng in the street.  The bounce house would have killed them for sure, expecially with the heavy attached machine flying through the air, hitting the vehicles.

One of the parents came over to help me stand up. While wiping my tears, he said.  "Don't worry,"  The children are in the house having birthday cake.  They are safe.  " You were sleeping so peacefully, no one wanted to wake you"  My daughter in law was busy with the party,  and was unaware that I was napping outside.  My husband was inside taking video pictures.

While I was sleeping, the wind started up just after the children went into the house to continue with the birthday party.

The question in my mind was, what would have happened if the six children were in the bounce house when the gust of wind uprooted the bounce house?  Would their little weight hold the house down, or would they have tumbled?  

After researching in Google,  I learned other  bounce houses broke loose as well.  Unfortunately those incidents were too numerous to mention, including lots of injuries.

 In my humble opinion, please don't allow your kids to enter one if it is not on level ground.   Check to see that all the stakes around the house are secured in the ground.  Make sure the weather is calm with no wind.

Now that the cold weather is behind us, many out door birthday parties will take place.  Bounce houses have become very popular and I urge every one to be cautious with your children.

Did you or anyone else you know had similar experiences?  Please comment.  If you are having a hard time with the comment box,  I will be happy to publish it for you if you email your comment to

What do you think?