Channel 11 looks at dangers associated with inflatable toys

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PITTSBURGH —

It's been a frightening year for parents who let their kids use bounce houses.

You'll remember the story from Colorado in May of an inflatable rolling away with kids inside.

And of course, the bounce house in New York that was carried into the sky after two kids fell out.

Despite what might seem like a rash of "freak" accidents, bounce house injuries have jumped dramatically over the last decade.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Cooper Sanner knows the dangers all too well.

He was in Sewickley Township neighborhood bounce house in June when a child fell on his leg.

Now he is in a cast that runs from his toes to above his waist for 10 weeks.

“Accidentally, an older child jumped on him and broke his femur, he has a spiral fracture," said Micki Sanner, Cooper’s mother.

According to the Journal of Pediatrics, bounce house injuries have jumped 15 times higher since 1995.

The number of kids brought to emergency rooms went from 702 in 1995 to 11311 in 2010.

The research shows about a third of the children injured are under 5 years old.

“The majority of injuries that we see in children related to bounce houses occur from collisions within the bounce house," said Dr. Kevin Mollen, a pediatric trauma surgeon at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Mollen says most of the injuries are broken bones, but about 20 percent are head and neck injuries.

Doctors recommend separating younger children from older kids, and limiting how many kids are in the bounce house at a time.

Another danger is one we've seen in high profile accidents, like the bounce house that was recently swept into the sky with kids inside.

If you're installing your own, you have to make sure the inflatable is properly grounded with stakes.

Manufacturers warn that they're not to be used in windy conditions.

That's anything more than 15 miles per hour.

At least for Cooper, his accident hasn't scared him off.

He wants to play again inside another bounce house, but he'll have to wait the full 10 weeks until he can get his cast removed.           

“I think every parent has concerns about bounce houses, but they are so fun for kids, and honestly even after the accident, I don't think they are a bad thing," said Micki Sanner.