My Darling Boys are always sticking their fingers in the mouths or grabbing a snack with their fingers and eating it after playing at the park or in the dirt before I can clean off their hands or send them to the sink for a thorough washing.
This grosses me out and sends thousands of warnings messages through my neurons. I try to stop them and get their hands clean before it happens, but it invariably does happen. Darling 2 will say, "Why, Ma?" as he sticks little goldfish crackers in his mouth with his filthy little hands. And yet, they have survived and a little dirt is OK, but it's all the chemicals and germs that scare me. And now, another danger to be wary of...
Hidden Bounce House Dangers
We are aware of the threat of lead in old paint, in toys, in jewelry and on strands of Christmas lights, but here's one that might surprise you: beware of dangerous levels of lead in inflatable bounce house vinyl. Last August, the CA attorney general's office filed a lawsuit against 8 bounce house manufacturers claiming there are unsafe levels of lead in the vinyl. In February, a settlement was reached with 2 of the major suppliers to reduce the lead in the vinyl, making it safer for about half of the bounce houses.
The lawsuit was filed after the Center for Environmental Health tested dozens of bounce houses. The advocacy group focused on the vinyl of the structures; the very thing that makes them bouncy. The group used Field Portable XRF analyzers with X-rays to determine the chemical makeup of solid objects. What they found was surprising.
The tests revealed that the vinyl tested contained lead in levels of 5,000 parts per million to 29,000 parts per million. These number far exceed the federal limit of 90 to 300 parts per million. These levels are potentially toxic.
Lead is a cumulative poison; every little bit exposed to can make a big difference in the long run, particularly for kids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that exposure to lead can lead to learning disabilities, behavioral problems and seizures, coma and even death, in cases of extreme exposure.
If you choose not to boycott bounce houses altogether, based on this issue and others, then be sure to wash hands and face after your child is finished in the bounce house and before eating. What happens is the lead dust gets on a child's hands and face and clothes, the child then gets out and grabs a drink or eats some food and ingests the lead dust in the process.
The two manufacturers who agreed to the settlement in California also agreed to test their structures that are already in circulation for rental for parties and events and replace those with dangerous levels. However, the safe assumption is that your child may be exposed to lead when using a bounce house. So, make sure to wipe your child's hands and face after playing in a bounce house.
We can choose to be overly cautious or throw caution to the wind or settle somewhere in the middle. We fall in the middle ground. I'm not a fanatic about washing hands every three minutes; I let me kids play in the dirt; we swim in lakes; and haven't had all of our toys tested for lead or other dangerous chemicals. Yep, we're living on the edge. Over and out...