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A 2-year-old boy died after the wind blew away a bounce house where he was playing

Another child received “non-life threatening injuries,” according to police.
Children's Bouncy Castle Inflatable Playground Top Half
A 2-year-old boy in Arizona died on April 27, 2024, from a bounce house injury.nazdravie / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

A 2-year-old boy died after playing in a bounce house that blew away in the wind, authorities say.

A spokesperson for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona told NBC News that the tragedy transpired around 5 p.m. on April 27, close to the city of Casa Grande, which is roughly 50 miles south of Phoenix.

“Several children were playing in a bounce house when a strong gust of wind sent it airborne into the neighboring lot,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told NBC News. “A two-year-old child was transported to the hospital where he passed away.”

One child acquired injuries that were not life-threatening, added police. “This appears to have been a tragic accident,” said the spokesperson.

According to a study published in 2022 by the American Meteorological Society, bounce houses are responsible for more than two dozen deaths and nearly 500 injuries during the years 2000–2021. The study stated that bounce houses  “are safety hazards when they are dragged, blown over, or lofted by winds.”

In 2022, lead study author John A. Knox, who studies “the wind: why it blows, where it blows, what it blows around, and how to protect people from it,” according to his website bio at the University of Georgia, told TODAY.com that approximately 10,000 visits to the emergency room each year stem from bounce houses injuries.

Study co-author Thomas E. Gill, an Earth system scientist at The University of Texas at El Paso, told TODAY.com in 2022 that bounce houses “are very buoyant, like a giant balloon.”

The study authors said common injuries include broken bones, concussions or suffocation when children jump on each other or if the bounce house deflates and falls in on itself.

How can parents keep their children safe when playing on bounce houses?

  • Exit the bounce house — and deflate it — if wind picks up, Gill told TODAY.com.
  • “To minimize the risk of serious injury, I would recommend that kids jump as opposed to flip,” Dr. Terri Cappello, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Shriners Children’s Hospital, told TODAY.com in 2022, stressing, “Adult supervision is key.”
  • “If the bouncer starts to lose air, stop play and have all children get out of the bouncer immediately,” added Gary A Smith, a professor of pediatrics, emergency medicine and epidemiology at The Ohio State University.
  • Watch the kids and the weather. “Bounce houses are a lot of fun, and they can be great entertainment,” Gill said. “But they have to be secured and monitored carefully. A responsible adult should not only be watching the people in the bounce house, but also the weather.”