KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the second time in a month, a bounce-house with children inside was lifted into the air by a gust of wind. with the latest incident happening this past weekend in Colorado.
Rex Nolen, owner of the Gag Bag, rents bounce houses in Kansas and Missouri. He said bounce house mishaps are likely operator error, but that there are things parents can check to make sure their children are safe.
Nolen said the first thing parents should do is make sure they are renting a bounce house from an operator who is insured.
"If they're insured, then they have had training in the rules and they know when a bounce house should be taken down," said Nolen. "You should also do a walk around the bounce house once it has been set-up to make sure that all of the loopholes in the bounce house have been secured to the ground by 18-inch nails that are hammered into the ground at an angle."
Nolen said he is responsible if there is a mishap because he made a mistake setting-up the ride; but homeowners are liable for anything else that goes wrong. A person's homeowner's insurance typically covers the incident. On public property, groups have to have a separate insurance policy to cover any possible problems.
There are also rules by insurers in Kansas and Missouri that if the wind reaches 22 miles an hour, the ride must be shut-down. Nolen advises parents pay attention to their children and to the weather. He said when the wind kicks up it's time to take your children out of the bounce house and shut-down the ride.
Missouri's Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration does not have the authority under state law to regulate bounce houses, according to a statement.
Bob Hanson of the Kansas Insurance Department issued this statement to 41 Action News.
After checking with our consumer assistance division, if a homeowner has rented a bounce house for special event use, then his/her homeowners policy language most likely indicates that the homeowners insurance should cover that bounce house.
However, people thinking about renting an inflatable such as a bounce house should always check with their local insurance agent about whether it is covered in their homeowners insurance.