J3.2 Are Bounce Houses too Hot?

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 8:45 AM
Room 228/229 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
J. Marshall Shepherd, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA; and A. Grundstein and J. A. Knox

Bounce houses have been linked to frequent injuries among children, particularly fractures, strains, and sprains. Less well known are possible safety issues related to heat exposure. News reports have documented at least one case of a child suffering exertional heat stroke from a playing in a bounce house, and we suspect many others may be under-reported. Building upon a robust line of research at the University of Georgia on heat exposure associated with cars and athletics, respectively, our study aims to compare the microclimate in a bounce house with ambient outdoor conditions during summer days in Athens, Georgia. Meteorological measurements of air temperature, wind speed, and humidity were monitored both inside and outside the bounce house over two afternoon study sessions. Results indicate that conditions in the bounce house are hotter and more humid with less ventilation. Indeed, at its maximum, the bounce house had a heat index that was over 11oC greater than ambient conditions, exceeding 51oC (NWS Danger category). These conditions in combination with the exertion of a child jumping are conducive for an exertional heat illness. Children should be carefully monitored for signs of overheating.
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