It seems like nothing is safe anymore, especially for our kids. As a Florida defective product lawyer, I have represented children injured on improperly inflated or installed bounce houses. Now California’s Attorney General has sued a bounce house manufacturer alleging dangerous lead levels in the bounce house’s vinyl. Test revealed the vinyl’s lead level varied from 5,000 parts per million to 29,000, far above the federal limit of 90 to 300 parts per million.
So what are parents to do? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no amount of lead exposure is good for our children. The CDC has some specific suggestions on how to minimize your child’s exposure to lead.
While this lawsuit may have a chilling effect on the “bounce house industry”, I urge all parents to reconsider allowing your children to bounce in bounce houses until this issue can be resolved.
What can be done to prevent exposure to lead?
It is important to determine the construction year of the house or the dwelling where your child may spend a large amount of time (e.g., grandparents or daycare). In housing built before 1978, assume that the paint has lead unless tests show otherwise.
Talk to your state or local health department about testing paint and dust from your home for lead.
Make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
Pregnant women and children should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation. They should not participate in activities that disturb old paint or in cleaning up paint debris after work is completed.
Create barriers between living/play areas and lead sources. Until environmental clean-up is completed, parents should clean and isolate all sources of lead. They should close and lock doors to keep children away from chipping or peeling paint on walls. You can also apply temporary barriers such as contact paper or duct tape, to cover holes in walls or to block children’s access to other sources of lead.
Regularly wash children’s hands and toys. Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil. Both are known lead sources.
Regularly wet-mop floors and wet-wipe window components. Because household dust is a major source of lead, parents should wet-mop floors and wet-wipe horizontal surfaces every 2-3 weeks. Windowsills and wells can contain high levels of leaded dust. They should be kept clean. If feasible, windows should be shut to prevent abrasion of painted surfaces or opened from the top sash.
Prevent children from playing in bare soil; if possible, provide them with sandboxes. Parents should plant grass on areas of bare soil or cover the soil with grass seed, mulch, or wood chips, if possible. Until the bare soil is covered, parents should move play areas away from bare soil and away from the sides of the house. If using a sandbox, parents should also cover the box when not in use to prevent cats from using it as a litter box. That will help protect children from exposure to animal waste.