The bounce house could be seen at least 50 feet in the air. (Source: Caters News Agency/CNN)
SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV/AP) -
Police say two young boys who fell from an inflatable bounce house as it was swept skyward by gusty winds remain hospitalized in stable condition, with one in a medically induced coma with a head injury.
Monday's terrifying incident is just the latest in the rising number of injuries involving the popular places to play. A report released in 2012 found that more than 30 children are rushed to hospital emergency rooms every day for an injury associated with inflatable bouncers. One out of four of those injuries involved broken bones.
Inflatables flying away are more common than people may think and some parents are just finding out about the danger.
"To have something like that happen, it would just be devastating, it would be horribly frightening," said mother Amy Shimkus.
"It can happen, if the wind gets strong enough and you don't properly spike down or weigh down any inflatable," said Zach Wilson, the owner of Fun Services of Kansas City in Shawnee, KS.
Wilson's family has been in the inflatables business since the early 1970s. He said, even though they can weigh anywhere from 200 to 300 pounds, the air inside can get heated.
"The air inside is a little lighter than the air on the outside, creates kind of a perfect scenario to actually make those a little bit weightless. The wind comes along, it'll pick them up," he said.
Fifteen-to-20 mph winds are all it takes to make it too dangerous to be inside a bouncy house.
"If I would put my kids on it, then I'm OK with it, but if I'm not going to put my kids on it, I wouldn't want your kids on it either," Wilson said.
The size of stake you should use for an inflatable is about 42 inches long. It should be pushed at least 75 percent into the ground, straight down, not at an angle, for the most support.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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