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Toddlers injured in another bounce house tragedy

Two toddlers were injured in New Hampshire Sunday when a gust of wind blew a bounce house 40 feet. Why are there more bounce house accidents now?

Two toddlers were hurt when an inflatable bounce house they were in was lifted by a gust of wind and blown about 40 feet at a Nashua, New Hampshire, farm.

Authorities say a 2-year-old boy and a 3-year-old boy had climbed into the bounce house at Sullivan Farm on Sunday when it suddenly went airborne, flying over a fence and then crashing to the ground. The younger boy suffered critical injuries and was flown to a Boston hospital. The 3-year-old boy also was injured.

The farm's co-owner, Gary Bergeron, told WMUR-TV that the bounce house had been inflated so it could dry off and was not open at the time. But the father of one of the injured boys says a farm volunteer led visitors to believe it was open.

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Earlier this year, children were injured in separate but similar incidents, when a bounce houses in Colorado and New York became airborne in strong winds.

The rise in bounce house accidents, according to Time.com, is their popularity, the use of do-it-yourself bounce house kits, and a lack of consistent safety guidelines. 

Part of the reason injuries are increasing appears to be a simple one: Bouncy houses and moonwalks and inflatable obstacle courses are not only more popular than they were two decades ago but also come in do-it-yourself-packages that parents can purchase and set up themselves. “You can buy them on the shelf at Costco,” says Tracy Mehan, a health educator with the Child Injury Prevention Alliance.

Drew Tewksbury, a senior vice president at insurance broker Britton Gallagher, developed an insurance program for amusement rentals like bounce houses. He says that trying to set up such playthings without professional operators and attendants is a “recipe for disaster.”...

Currently there are voluntary guidelines for how to set up and operate a bounce house set out by ASTM International. Nearly 20 states, Tewksbury says, have passed legislation making those guidelines mandatory, rules that cover everything from the number of attendants one must have present to how deeply stakes must be pounded into the ground and how strong winds can be before all children are forced to get out.

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