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Letting the Air Out of Inflatable Toys

While seemingly safe and innocuous, inflatable toys sent 113,272 people to emergency rooms between 2003 and 2013. Most dangerous of all were the inflatable "Moon Bounce" that is designed to launch individuals high into the air. These "toys" were responsible for over 90% of ER visits within this 10-year period. In the United States, manufacturers of inflatable devices can be held accountable for poor design, poor construction, and product failure when their products cause injury or wrongful death to users.

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Most inflatable toys are marketed for children's usage. Thus, it is not surprising that 61% of those who were injured between 2011 and 2013 were between the ages of 4 to 15. Common injuries suffered by children who were injured by inflatable toys include broken arms, legs, and collarbones. These account for roughly 66% of all injuries. Of those injured, 27% reported having suffered sprains, strains, or dislocations. 23% reported suffering contusions, abrasions, or lacerations. Inflatable toys can also easily cause wrongful death. Between 2003 and 2013, 12 fatalities caused by inflatable toys including "Moon Bounces" were reported to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Product liability attorneys also know that inflatable gear such as personal floatation devices, rafts, and floating chairs can pose drowning risks when valves or seals fail. Most inflatable toys contain only one air chamber which makes them particularly vulnerable to complete deflation when the device is punctured or the seal fails.

Slow leaks can deflate a device gradually whereas sharp punctures can do the job more rapidly. Regardless of how fast or slow the deflation occurs, the results can be catastrophic. The loss of air pressure can leave inexperienced swimmers, or those with limited mobility, struggling for survival in deep water and far from life saving assistance. Each year, roughly 1 in 5 people who drown in the United States are 14 years old or younger. Many of these young victims perished when their personal floatation devices, or the inflatable chairs/rafts they were using failed.

Between 2011 and 2013, 46% of injuries caused by inflatable water equipment occurred away from the home. These locations included swimming pools, lakes, rivers, and beaches. Only 21% of these injuries occurred in residential swimming pools. Of those injured following the use of inflatable toys such as the Moon Bounce, 3% were hospitalized for their injuries.

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