Kids love the thrill of bouncing on inflatable houses and running down water slides at birthday parties, fairs, carnivals, and other outdoor events. But how much wind is too much for a bounce house? In general, most inflatables carried by the American Carnival Company (ACP) have a maximum wind capacity of 15 to 25 miles per hour. According to the international ASTM standard, the safe operation of inflatable booths should not exceed 25 mph, unless assured by a professional engineer. Once the wind speed reaches the maximum for the specific unit, the inflatable should be turned off immediately until the wind slows down.
Most manufacturers recommend that a bouncy house not be used when winds reach 25 miles per hour. Amberg, owner of a professional rental company, said his company frequently shuts down use to the dismay of customers when winds reach 15 to 20 miles per hour. He said that the bouncy houses used by professional rental companies are larger and heavier and are made of more durable vinyl. Most weather-related accidents related to inflatable houses are due to poor assembly procedures and lack of supervision. Yes, most people know that they shouldn't have their children in a bouncy house when a thunderstorm is coming, or worse, when there's a tornado. But what about smaller gusts of wind? Amberg said that most of the inflatables he carries have a maximum wind capacity of 15 to 25 miles per hour.
He also noted that many bouncy houses sold commercially indicate on the box that they should not be used outdoors, but the manufacturer also offers stakes. At most outdoor events, inflatables are placed on grass, where three-foot-long steel stakes are used in every corner of a bouncy house. Knox hopes that his study will help increase vigilance by using bouncy houses when the weather is good to reduce many bone fractures. One of the biggest dangers when using inflatables is the wind. A strong gust of wind can pull the stakes that hold an inflatable house or slip off the ground and cause it to fly through the air with people on it. Some of those who saw what happened say that the bouncy house eventually reached a height of about 50 feet. It's definitely more difficult to predict wind than rain before the day of the event.
But it's important to be aware of wind conditions before setting up an inflatable house or water slide. If winds exceed 20 miles per hour, it's best to avoid using an inflatable altogether.