Inflatable amusement parks continue to grow in popularity. There are more than a dozen in the Chicago area and across the country. The increase in inflatables, or bouncy houses, also comes with an increase in injuries. In 2016, there were an estimated 20,700 injuries nationwide linked to the popular inflatable structures.
WGN Investigates tracked down the local emergency calls coming in to dispatch centers about the inflatable amusement parks.
Here's the transcription from just a few of those 911 calls:
"I have a girl that just passed out and hit her head."
"I’m looking at a compound fracture. We have a break in the arm and the mom requested that we call EMS."
"We have a netting that kids can climb on and some kid got his leg wrapped up in there and we can’t get it untied and it’s losing circulation."
"He hit a wall and hurt his ribs. He’s having a hard time walking right now. He’s in a lot of pain."
Mikayla Karlow, 8, of Crystal Lake, Ill., broke her arm while sliding down a bouncy house. She spent three days hospitalized and on morphine.
Mikayla's case is not unusual, according to the organization Kids In Danger. The group has been looking at the safety of inflatable slides and bounce houses.
"When you see children falling off a slide because there’s too many children on it and no one is controlling that or a slide deflates to the point where a child gets hurt. Those are things that are preventable and that’s what we want to try and stop from happening," Nancy Cowles spokesperson for Kinds in Danger, said.
WGN Investigates reached out to the facility where Mikayla was hurt. They said they inspected the inflatable after the incident but found it was working properly.