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Child injured in jumping castle at birthday party

For children's birthday parties, jumping castles are a common sight. They are the inflatable, trampoline-like, structures designed for kids release some of their energy and enthusiasm by jumping around in a safe and padded environment. Unfortunately, jumping castles and trampolines are not always safe for children.

Recently, a nine-year-old girl and her 11-year-old sister where invited to a birthday party, which featured an inflatable jumping castle as part of the entertainment. Unfortunately, weather conditions made the premises unsafe for having an inflatable jumping castle. While the two children were in the jumping castle, a gust of wind grabbed the jumping castle, broke the ties that held it to the ground, and sent it flying. The 11-year-old girl was able to get out of the structure as it began to take off, but the 9-year-old girl was trapped inside.

Witnesses say the jumping castle flew about 110 feet as the girl's father chased it. It then dropped the girl on a neighbor's roof before taking flight again and slamming into another neighboring house. Paramedics were able to reach both girls and take them to the hospital. The 11-year-old girl suffered only minor injuries, but the nine-year-old girl suffered a head injury believed to be a concussion.

Safety guidelines for jumping castles vary by model and manufacturer. Most jumping castles are designed to withstand winds of up to 25 miles-per-hour when properly secured. The National Weather Service reported gusts reaching 30 miles-per-hour in the area the day of the accident.

Typically, social hosts are legally responsible for injuries suffered by party guests. However, other factors may have contributed to the accident, including whether the jumping castle equipment was defective and whether the castle was properly tethered to the ground. In personal injury cases of this sort, it can be difficult to determine what caused the accident and who is legally responsible for the ensuing injuries without a thorough investigation.

Source: Arizona Daily Star, "Jumping castle flies off with girl, 9," Jamar Younger, 2/20/2011

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