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Doctors warn of new injuries associated with bounce houses

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Most parents don't think twice about letting their kids hop inside a bounce house, but are they really that safe?

Often times parents consider the risk of a sprain or a fracture from a bounce house, but rarely do they worry about injuries related to heat.

Researchers from the University of Georgia say temperatures inside an inflatable bounce house could be four to seven degrees hotter than outside. They compare it to spending time in a locked, hot car.

"Warm outside, warmer inside," Dr. Leonard Pittala said. "Just like if you turn the air-conditioning off in your house on a hot day."

They also measured heat index levels, which they found could lead to serious injuries such as heat exhaustion, muscle cramps or heat stroke. Now doctors are warning parents these inflatables could create a dangerous situation for children.

One metro family that owns a bounce house and rents it out on the weekends, says the heat is a concern. They try to keep it in a shaded space and use extra vents for added breeze.

"We try to avoid that by putting tarps up in the bouncy house, so the sun does not hit," said Jesus Yahir with Genealis Rental. "But the same time it's still plastic so it does heat up."

Dr. Pittala said parents shouldn't let this research scare them away from bounce houses, they just need to be aware and take precautions such as offering liquids to kids and make sure they're wearing lightweight clothing to prevent any heat-related injuries.

"I think you should be concerned, but some of the cardinal rules of a good healthy lifestyle is keeping kids active," Dr. Pittala said. "So we're not trying to keep your kids away from being active, they should be. But you should be aware of the safety factors involved. And I think this is probably number one."