Tenn. senator wants to halt inspections on bounce houses

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Every 46 minutes, a child is injured on what’s known as a bounce house, an inflatable amusement device that a state senator wants to keep from inspectors’ eyes.

Sen. Mike Bell is sponsoring the bill, which has already moved forward several times in the legislature.

On Tuesday, it’s going up in front of a House committee.

Bell argues that the inspections on bounce houses, which just started this year by the Tennessee Department of Labor, aren’t effective or needed.

“There’s no way to check the condition unless you unroll all these and actually inflate them,” Bell said in a Feb. 2 Senate Commerce and Labor Committee meeting.

He says to do that would take hours and manpower that the state doesn’t have.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, most injuries are due to improper operation, supervision and set up, not because the inflatable devices malfunctioned.

“There’s no value unless we’re going to follow them to every house and every store, and we’re not going to do that,” Bell said in the same committee meeting.

Most children who are injured on bounce houses suffer broken bones and sprains. But there were 12 deaths between 2003 and 2013.

Sen. Bell also said in front of the Senate committee the consumer doesn’t get any added protection by the inspection and that it would also disrupt business.

“You would completely disrupt the business for hours. You would have to take them out in the parking lot, unroll them one at a time because of the size of them,” he explained.

David Sells with Space Walk of Middle Tennessee said he doesn’t want the bill to pass.

He thinks the inspections are a good thing for his business and his customers.

“It’s basically saying we don’t care about the children’s safety,” Sells said. “If you don’t have someone saying, ‘Hey, we’re making sure these companies are doing the right thing,’ people could get hurt.”

The bill will be heard Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. by the Business and Utilities subcommittee.

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