The sun is shining, hot dogs are sizzling on the grill, and birthday guests frolic happily in the pool. A child’s birthday party is a blissful event, but you can’t let yourself forget the potential hazards that lay hidden within this seemingly harmless scene.
Of course, birthday parties thrown by responsible parents are usually quite safe. There’s certainly no need to tear up all of your child’s birthday invitations, and no one needs to cancel their own child’s party. What you do have to do, though, is be mindful of the risks for child accidents that can be found at parties. Here are some kids’ party culprits you may not have suspected:
Like their inflatable, castle-shaped sisters, trampolines come with potential for bruises, bone injuries, and concussions. They should be used with the same caution—never allow guests to jump unsupervised or perform stunts or unsafe moves. Trampolines should be enclosed by a safety net, and frames and springs should be covered by shock-absorbing pads.
Florida has more unintentional drowning deaths in children aged 1 – 14 than any other state. To prevent accidents and injuries in the water, pools should be enclosed by child-proof gates and covers to prevent wandering guests from falling in.
If the party is a pool party, this should be explicitly stated in the invitation. Parents should be allowed, and even encouraged to accompany their child to such events. Children should never be permitted to swim unsupervised, and should always remain within arm’s reach of an adult.
Breaking open the piñata is a time-honored tradition for many families. Unfortunately, equipping blindfolded children with a stick and having them beat a swinging object can be a recipe for disaster. To reduce potential for accidents, guests should be kept at a safe distance from the piñata while each child takes a turn. The children should be instructed that they cannot collect candy until the hitter is finished swinging and removes their blindfold.
According to an article published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten annually by dogs—and half of these are children. Young kids often lack the ability to discern when a dog’s behavior indicates that they shouldn’t get close.
At birthday parties, all dogs should be properly restrained and kept a safe distance away from guests—regardless of their size or demeanor. Even friendly, well-trained dogs have been known to bite when they feel threatened or are protecting their territory.
Bright, colorful, and a great source of exercise, it’s no wonder that bounce houses have become a staple at parties, fairs, and special events across the country. But as inflatable bouncers increase in popularity, so does the number of bounce house-induced injuries. According to a recent study conducted by Child Injury Prevention Alliance, the number of bouncer-related injuries rose 1,500 percent between 1995 and 2010.
Common bounce house injuries include broken bones, fractures, and sprains. Some children have been reported to sustain more serious damage, such as concussions and brain injuries. To minimize the risk of such injuries at parties, young guests should be supervised at all times by a parent. Adults should intervene upon sighting horseplay or potentially dangerous behavior—such as flips and summersaults. Should the weather become windy or stormy, children should vacate the bounce house immediately.
What do balloons, hot dogs, and candy have in common? They can all be found at a birthday party, and they are all choking hazards. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, choking is a leading cause of death in children, especially those under three years of age. While these items shouldn’t be banned forever from all children’s parties, constant adult supervision is crucial for avoiding choking mishaps—particularly during eating times.
In addition, party favors should be age-appropriate. Young children should not be given toys with parts smaller than one-and-three quarter inches in size.
When Your Child Has Been Injured at a Birthday Party
To ensure their party is safe, homeowners have a responsibility to inspect their property and repair problems, protect guests from foreseeable perils. If harm comes to a child due to lack of supervision, hosts can be held accountable because they have a duty to care for their guests.
If your child has been injured at a birthday party due to the negligence of the hosts, you should speak to a knowledgeable liability lawyer who has handled child injury cases before. By seeking legal help, you may be able recover the compensation needed to cover the cost of medical bills and help your child return to a full, normal life.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Lawlor Winston White & Murphy. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”