FOX25 Investigates: Bouncy house health hazards

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With summer in full swing, you have probably seen more bouncy houses popping up. Along with the fun, there is a hidden danger you might not expect. FOX25 investigated after seeing photos being shared on Facebook.     

JUST HAVING SUMMER FUN 
Brenda Sanderson's two sons enjoyed attending a graduation party earlier this summer. There were plenty of outdoor activities, including a bouncy house. She says they were doing the typical things kids do in bouncy house like jumping up and down for a long time and wrestling. 

GROWING AND SPREADING SORE WOUNDS
Two days later, Brenda noticed marks on her ten year old's body. She asked her son where the marks came from, "He said well mommy I think it's from sliding around bouncing around the bouncy house. I think i just got burned from the plastic." 
Brenda put Neosporin on the affected skin and did not think anything of it. The marks did not get better. They were growing and spreading. The ones on his arm grew tremendously bigger and became open sore wounds. Brenda said the wounds were spreading and painful. "It was oozing and when it was oozing it spreads... he said they were hurt to touch." 
She immediately brought her son to the doctor's office. The doctor asked about her son's recent activity and the bouncy house party came up.  
When the doctor heard her son had been in a bounce house, she knew it was a staph infection, caused by unseen bacteria on the plastic surface.
The doctor told her "It is like a wrestling mat. Staph infections come from a gym or something that's not being washed or cleansed properly will start to create a bacteria."   

STATE INSPECTIONS 
The bouncy house, in this case, was a rental. FOX25 found out the state does inspect bouncy houses, but more to make sure they are working properly and for safety rather than for cleanliness.
Ed Kawa, Division Chief of the Department of Public Safety in Massachusetts tells Fox 25 owners are required to adhere to bouncy house manufacturer requirements, within the manuals there are care and maintenance procedure. Kawa emphasized, "there is a requirement for keeping the devices clean."
The general requirement is to vacuum and wipe down bouncy with a mild cleaner. 


PREVENTING STAPH INFECTIONS 
Doctor Ari Cohen, Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Mass General Hospital said if the bouncy house is not clean, any open cut would be a risk, "Anytime you break the skin you're at risk of some sort of skin infection. Staph being the most common and the most talked about. That in and of itself as long as long as you  wash up any wound after you get it that should minimize the chance of getting significant infections."

WAYS TO KEEP BOUNCY HOUSES CLEAN 

  • Clean inflatables immediately after or just prior to use
  • Vacuum and remove all the big debris (grass, leaves, dirt)
  • Wipe the bouncy house out with a mild cleaner or a multipurpose product that cleans and sanitizes at the same time
  • Wash and clean from the back wall to the front door
  • Wash and the front step and other outside surfaces.

INJURIES IN BOUNCY HOUSES  
Mass General Hospital reports at least 20 major injuries in the past year and a half from bounce houses including: 

  • Neck fracture 
  • Concussions 
  • Broken bones requiring surgery 
  • Cuts