Setting Up a Bounce House: What You Need to Know

Setting Up a Bounce House: What You Need to Know

Big, colorful, inflatable castle labyrinth
Bounce houses have become a party staple nowadays.

Setting up a bounce house is entirely a good idea to bring your kid’s party to a whole new level. 

You might be thinking that buying a bounce house for a one-day event is too much, but actually, a bounce house is a long term investment. Besides, a bounce house is not just for a party, but it can be used by your kids every day to have fun or even for the entire family over the weekend. 

What is good about bounce houses is that setting it up is no longer as difficult and complex as before. Nowadays, setting up a bounce house is as easy as unpacking, unrolling, and inflating it. Then, you could already relax as you watch your kids enjoy their new place. 

Bounce houses are of increasing popularity most especially at kid’s parties. This is because bounce houses are safer and are far more entertaining than trampolines. Bounce houses also provide kids a place where they can play and have fun on their own, not unless you want to join them. 

When hosting a party, you can either rent or buy a bounce house. It all depends on you. But before buying or renting one, here are some of the things that you need to know about bounce houses. 

Brief Background 

John Scurlock, a mechanical engineer, designed the first-ever inflatable structure in 1959. The idea came up to him after seeing his employees jumping on the inflatable covers used in tennis courts. 

Aside from being a mechanical engineer, John is also considered as the pioneer of inflatable tents and domes. He is also the person behind the safety air caution which is a device used to catch people who are jumping from great heights or from buildings. 

He built his own company named Space Walks after being inspired by his employees. To raise funds for his idea, he flew to England. People call them moon houses because walking on them felt like walking on the moon.

These bounce houses became a kid’s party staple afterward but the problem is, these inflatable structures have no enclosures that people might be thrown off and onto the ground. Thankfully, pressurized walls and tops were incorporated a few years later.

Features of a Modern Bounce House 

Inflatable children's castle at playground from the bird's eye view
Modern bounce houses are safer and have more features.

Unlike before, bounce houses today are so much safer as it no longer has any of the “moon house’s” issues. This is because of how advanced the manufacturing techniques and textile technologies are. 

The materials used in making bounce houses today are tougher and durable. This results in a safer place where kids can play on. Kids, or anyone who plays in the bounce house, no longer have to experience punctured fabric due to overgrown nails. The fabrics used today are stronger but are of the same weight or are even lighter than the ones that were used before. This makes setting up bounce houses so much easier. 

Blowers have become lighter as well due to the introduction of these high-performance plastics. Blowers that were used before to inflate bounce houses were very heavy and noisy. Today, the blowers are lighter and quieter. Besides, most of these blowers are smaller and are made more portable. 

When it comes to the stitching of bounce houses, stitching machines are used to ensure that panels are stitched well together and the lines are straight. This also lessens manufacturing mistakes. Furthermore, the stitches are stronger since there are more reinforcements in weak areas. Older bounce houses have reinforcements too, but they are more expensive since they do not use machines. Stitches are done through manual labor. 

Stitching today is more affordable so designers can add more features to these bounce houses and still sell it at a reasonable price. Some of the features that are added in modern bounce houses include inflating side walls, climbers, and integrated slides.

Types of Bounce Houses 

Are you planning to buy a bounce house soon? If so, here are the three major types of bounce houses that you can choose from:

Indoor Bounce Houses 

Indoor playground with the bounce house at Mitsui Outlet Park, Sepang.
Indoor bounce houses are relatively smaller in size.

Compared to traditional or regular bounce houses, indoor bounce houses are typically smaller and shorter in order for them to fit inside. More often than not, the bounce area measures around 63 to 100 square feet. 

Indoor bounce houses are more ideal for younger kids. So, if you are looking for a house that can fit your child’s room or garage, then an indoor bounce house is exactly what you are looking for. 

In as much as possible, indoor bounce houses should not be placed outside since they are typically made out of lighter materials thus, they can be easily damaged. But if you really want to bring it outside, you must have secure the bounce house first by laying down a thick tarp to the area where you are placing it. A little reminder, never ever use indoor bounce houses when it is raining or when the weather is breezy. They could easily be thrown off due to how lightweight they are. 

The jump area of an indoor bounce house is made out of 18 ounces PVC while the non-bounce area is made out of nylon. Both of these materials are very brittle and can easily be damaged even just by branches or by other sharp objects. In order to protect your bounce house and for you to use it longer, just use it inside. 

When buying an indoor bounce house, check out if it comes with a blower or if it needs to be inflated then capped. A capped indoor bounce house loses pressure over time so they become less stuff to bounce to. 

Standard Bounce Houses 

Bounce house inflatable jumpy castle in a large open yard.
Standard bounce houses are made of thicker materials.

Standards bounce houses somewhat look like indoor bounce houses. The thing is, standard bounce houses are made of thicker materials. In addition, they also have reinforcements near the entrance and in the seams. Standard bounce houses come with a blower that continuously provides air supply and pressure to the cushion. 

Outdoor bounce houses are larger and heavier than indoor bounce houses. This is because they are made out of stronger materials. Even though they are heavier, outdoor bounce houses should still be set up in a tarp in order not to damage it. 

More kids can play in outdoor bounce houses at once since they are relatively bigger. In fact, they could accommodate more than the recommended number of users but their safety becomes an issue. Children could collide or bump against each other at that.

Inflatable Bounce Water Parks

Inflatable slide at a Caribbean Island resort
This type of bounce house is relatively bigger and has additional features to keep it still.

Obviously, this type of bounce house is for water use. Inflatable Bounce Water Parks are equipped with additional textures that prevent children from slipping or sliding. Usually, they come with water slides, splash pools, and slip ‘n’ slides. The structures that are best suited during the summer season are often going to the beach. But, these can also be used at any time and can be enjoyed by all ages. 

The problem with inflatable water parks is that storing them after use takes time. This is because you still have to completely wait before they are dried completely. Folding and storing them wet could cause mildew. 

Commercial-Inflatable Bounce Houses 

As the term implies, this type of bounce house is generally designed to withstand frequent use and abuse. So, if you are an event planner or if you plan a bounce house rental business, then this type of bounce house is more ideal for you since they are more durable and can accommodate a larger number of children. 

Commercial-grade inflatable houses are made out of multiple layers of materials which makes them more durable. Due to their large size, some commercial-grade inflatable houses need multiple blowers to keep the pressure. 

Things to Consider when Choosing a Bounce House 

Bounce house standing on green grass. 3D illustration.
The safety of the children should not be compromised but should be a top priority.

Choosing what bounce house to use can be a bit difficult if you do not know exactly what you want. But, do not worry. Here are some of the things that you should consider when planning to buy a bound house:

Age 

The age of people who will use the bounce is a very important thing that you should consider. Children over six years old are very active which means that they need a larger bounce house. A larger bounce house will last longer and you will be more assured that they are safe. 

Size of Your Backyard 

You should know the size of your backyard in order for you to buy a bounce house with the right size. After all, there is no point in buying a very big bounce house if it won’t fit in your backyard. Better be safe by knowing the size of your backyard before buying than regret in the end for getting the wrong size. 

Budget 

The bounce house that you will get depends on your budget. Bounce houses nowadays typically cost around $200 to $1000 or even more. When buying, you should buy a bounce house that costs more than your allowed budget. This will keep your heart from melting by spending too much. But if you are really determined and want to go all out, then you are free to do so. After all, you’re buying something for your child to enjoy.

Buy Online

Buying a bounce house online is sometimes better due to the return policies that online sellers offer. And, there are times that they are on sale so you can save more. Furthermore, shipping is free at some shops, too. So, you no longer have to go out in as much as bringing home the bounce house is not a problem.

Safety Considerations When Buying a Bounce House 

Generally speaking, bounce houses are safe as long as you choose the right one. But still, things could go wrong at times. Making sure that your child is safe begins by buying from a trusted manufacturer. Here are some of the safety tips that you should keep in mind when shopping for a bounce house:

  • The bounce house should come with a clear and detailed instructional guide. Detailed operating guidelines must come with it. This will help you set up the bounce house properly. If printed material is not available, you can ask if an online copy is available. 
  • Check out if the manufacturer has recalls. In case that the manufacturer has recall, then more often than not, their entire inventory is fixed. Once you receive the bounce house that you bought, make sure that you check it out to make sure that you are not getting an old version. 
  • There are suppliers who make fake or vague safety statements, beware of them. There are times that they will also claim that this product is safe enough that no accident has been reported yet. Be keen and pay attention to details in order for you to figure out if you are buying from a trusted or fake supplier.

Bounce House Safety Guidelines for Parents 

The safety of your children should be your top priority. Their safety should not be compromised regardless of what they are doing. Here are some safety guidelines that you should keep in mind when setting up a bounce house at home:

  • You should always keep an eye when children are playing in the bounce house. Never leave them unattended to avoid any accident from happening. If no one is free to look after them, it is better that you deflate the bounce house. 
  • Do not take the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines for granted. Make sure that you have correctly followed how the bounce house should be anchored and on how many children are allowed to play in the bounce house all at once. 
  • Group the children who will play in the bounce house according to their age. Toddlers should join together as well as older children. This should be practiced for safety purposes as it is not safe for older children who are very active to be mixed with toddlers who barely walk or climb. They might just end up unintentionally hurting the younger children. 
  • Do not allow heavy people to play in the bounce house. Do not feel bad or do not think that you are discriminating against them. You are just making sure that everyone in the bounce house is safe. Follow the recommended number of persons to ensure safety. Adults are allowed in some bounce houses, just be sure that safety is not questioned here. 
  • Do not let the kids climb the walls. They might fall off the hard ground. This could also make the bounce house topple, so watch out. 
  • Deflate the bounce house when not in use. Children might sneak in there while you are not watching over them which could result in an accident.

How to Maintain Your Bounce House 

Maintaining your bounce house properly is very important for it to last longer. Taking good care of your bounce house is not that hard and does not take a lot of time but, you should do it often. Here are some tips on how you could maintain your bounce house:

Clean the Bounce House 

If your bounce house is used daily or weekly, then you have to keep it clean always. The bounce house could easily get dirty most especially when kids run in and out of it. 

The easiest way to keep your bounce house clean and dust-free is to vacuum it. When it comes to dirt spots, you can trust it with soap and water. Use a soft brush and mild soap when doing so. If possible, contact the manufacturer to find out the cleaning solution that they recommend. 

Keeping your bounce house clean is very important in order to keep anyone safe. The dust and dirt could irritate the eyes and nose and could also lead to allergies.

Sanitize the Bounce House

It is not enough that you just clean the bounce house. You should also sanitize it in order to make sure that you have eliminated the bacteria that might be living in there. There are a lot of sanitizing fluids available in the market, you just have to choose which of them is the safest for your bounce house. 

To find out if the sanitizing fluid that you have bought is safe, test it in a small area first. Sanitizing your bounce house is very simple. All you have to do is to spray the entire bounce house most especially the edges and corners and then wipe off the excess fluid with a clean and soft cloth.

Completely Dry the Bounce House Before Storing 

After cleaning and sanitizing your bounce house, the next thing that you have to do is to allow it to completely dry. It is very important that the bounce house is dried completely before you store it to avoid the growth of mildew. If you want to dry your bounce house faster than air drying it, you have the option of using a leaf blower. 

Regardless of the type of bounce house that you have, you should always dry it completely before folding and storing it.

Don’t Use the Bounce House if it is Not Inflated Properly

Do not allow your children to play in your bounce house if it is not inflated properly or if it starts to lose air. Staying in your bounce at such conditions could damage not just your bounce house but the safety of your children is at risk too. 

The bounce house is no longer supported by air anymore so, it could easily tear down or could lead to suffocation when not seen early. In addition, jumping in a bounce house that is not properly inflated or is losing air could lead to injuries.

How to Set Up a Bounce House 

Setting up a bounce house is easy. Here are the common steps that you should do when setting up a bounce house:

Step 1. Decide Where You Will Set Up the Bounce House

Deciding where to set up is very important as the area where you will place your bounce house has something to do with the safety of your children and the structure. Bounce houses should be installed in soil ground or lawns since they have to be anchored with stakes in order to keep them in place. Get rid of any sharp object, such as stones and twigs, in the area in order to avoid tearing your bounce house. Cover the area with a tarp to make sure that the bounce house is not in direct contact with the soil. 

Step 2. Unfold the Bounce House 

You bought the bounce house folded and boxed so you have to inbox and unfold it. Be careful in unboxing and unfolding it to avoid damaging it. 

Step 3. Power and Blower

In order to inflate your bounce house, a blower is needed. In order for the blower to run, electricity is needed. So, connect the blower to a power supply. If you are inflating a bounce house outdoors where there is no electric supply, a generator is your go-to. 

Step 4. Inlets and Outlets

The next step that you have to do is to tightly connect the inlets to the blowers to avoid any leakage. Close all outlets afterward. It is normal for air to still come out from the outlets even after closing them. You should consistently blow up your bounce house with fans as there will always be airs in and airs out. 

Step 5. Inflate the Bounce House

After securing the inlets and outlets, it is time to inflate your bounce house by firing up the blower. Blowing up your bounce house would take around two minutes or so. It all depends on the size of your bounce house. You can untangle the tangled parts while inflating your bounce house. 

Step 6. Anchor the Bounce House

Once the bounce house is completely inflated, the next thing for you to do is to anchor it to ensure that it is fixed to the ground. This will ensure that the bounce house will not be blown away and that it is safe for children to jump into. 

Step 7. Double-Check

There is no such thing as checking too much. Checking everything out for the second time around to ensure everything is done correctly is acceptable. This step is very important to make sure that the bounce house is safe for everyone to use.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you put a bounce house indoors?

Yes, you can put a bounce house indoors as long as you have enough space for it e.g. gym, auditorium, large halls. 

How long does it take to inflate a bounce house?

Regular sized bounce houses usually take around 2 minutes to be inflated. Larger bounce houses will take around 4 minutes. 

How long does a bounce house last?

Bounce houses can last up to 5 years as long as they are properly maintained. 

Does a bounce house use a lot of electricity?

No. Bounce houses use minimal electricity only. 

Do bounce houses need to be plugged all the time?

Yes, it has to be plugged all the time for it not to deflate.

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