We have seen this child-friendly activity at birthday parties, get-together, and even recreation centers, but I am sure no one knew the potential hidden danger lying inside.

The plastic surface of an all-too-inviting play area for children holds a potentially deadly secret. One mother found out the hard way that a bounce house her two sons enjoyed earlier this summer may have been the culprit of a serious and quite possibly fatal infection. Now, she wants to warn others.

Brenda Sanderson did not hesitate to allow her two sons to enjoy a graduation party held earlier this summer, which had a bouncy house. The two boys thoroughly enjoyed the party and the bounce house with all their friends. However, two days later, strange marks began to appear on her 10-year-old son’s body.

“He said, ‘Well mommy, I think it’s from sliding around bouncing around the bouncy house. I think I just got burned from the plastic,’” Sanderson explained. The mother of two seemed satisfied with this possible explanation and treated the strange marks with some antibiotic ointment. Unfortunately, the marks didn’t heal and instead grew. Then, one of the growing marks became an open sore. “It was oozing, and when it was oozing it spreads,” the mother recalled, also explaining that her son said they hurt to touch.

It was then that the concerned mother took her son to a doctor, where he was diagnosed with a staph infection, which can become fatal if not treated properly. The doctor questioned Sanderson about her son’s recent activity, and that is when the bounce house party came up. When the doctor heard that her son had been in a bounce house, she knew then it was a staph infection, which is caused by unseen bacteria hiding on surfaces. The doctor said, “It is like a wrestling mat. Staph infections come from a gym or something that’s not being washed or cleansed properly will start to create a bacteria.”


In this case, the bounce house was a rental. Although the state does inspect them for safety issues, they do not inspect them for cleanliness. Ed Kawa, division chief of the Department of Public Safety, said the owners are responsible. “There is a requirement for keeping the devices clean,” he said.

Though we cannot keep our kids completely safe from harm, we can always do our absolute best to minimize it. The best advice that can be given is to thoroughly cleanse any open wound your child may have after visiting a bounce house. Also, before renting such equipment, inquire about cleaning procedures to keep you and your guests safe.

 What do you think? Will you still let your children play in bounce houses?

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