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Inflatable play structures responsible for increase in child injuries

If you've driven past a neighborhood where there has been a children's birthday party, chances are you've seen one of those large, inflatable play structures such as a bouncy house or an inflatable slide.

They may look harmless; after all, they're just large balloons filled with air, right? Not according to a new report released by the medical journal Pediatrics which names these children's toys as the new "epidemic" for causing injuries in children across the nation.

Data collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, showed that an alarming 30 children per day were taken into emergency rooms across the U.S. in 2010 for injuries associated with these potentially dangerous children's toys. The common causes for injuries were caused by falls, followed by stunts and collisions.

Medical professionals across California and around the nation say that many of the fractures, sprains, and head and neck injuries they see caused by inflatable play structures are similar to those from trampolines. Unfortunately, people are seeing these inflatable counterparts as a safer alternative despite that fact that they lack the same national safety guidelines that trampolines have.

Although the issuers of the report do not want to alarm parents too much, they do want to point out the safety concerns these products are bringing up across the nation. "Parents need to balance the risks with the benefits," says director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio. "We need to encourage kids to get off the couch and have an active lifestyle, but parents can take informed steps to make the bouncers safer."

Source: USA Today, "Child injuries skyrocket on inflatable bouncers," Janice Lloyd, Nov. 26, 2012

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