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UPDATE: Ohio bounce house laws more stringent

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Ohio has more stringent rules regarding bounce houses compared to other states, according to owners of Bellefontaine’s Belle Bounce rental company.

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Local youths bounce inside a bounce house during a block party on Court Avenue on June 16. The popular activity has come under scrutiny by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (EXAMINER FILE PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

“In Ohio, you have to be licensed and insured to rent bounce houses and the same guys (Ohio Department of Agriculture inspectors) who inspect us inspect Kings Island and Cedar Point,” Mike Joseph said.

Read a related article, "Study: Bounce houses a party hit but kids' injuries soar," below

“Some states have no rules at all. You don’t see bounce houses blowing across the interstate in Ohio like happened in Arizona.”

Unlike other states, bounce house rental companies are required to follow certain rules before turning renters loose.

Some of those include setting up a bounce house with proper stakes or sandbags and instructing adult supervisors on the safe use of the apparatus, Mr. Joseph said. Bounce houses also cannot be set up when winds exceed 15 mph.

“A bounce house should always be supervised, for the commercial ones in Ohio that’s required,” he said.

He also said there is a list of dos and don’ts renters are made aware of, such as no flipping, no candy, no jewelry among others.

Problems still can exist with smaller units or units rented from companies that are not certified to rent the bounce houses.

“Most of those (problems) are with the ones people own at home; they aren’t the commercial ones,” Mr. Joseph said. “Knock on wood, we’ve never had anything more serious than kids bumping their heads together, but if they have one at home or rent a rental and get no training, problems can arise.”

And there are inherent risks as with any other sporting activity.

“In any kind of sport, a rollercoaster or anything, there is a risk,” Mr. Joseph said. “As it’s children, it’s the adult supervisor who should make sure it is being used safely.

“We want kids to have fun, but we have to do it safely.”