Special Report: Carnival Caution
Just a month ago, 24-year-old Stacey Sarrette of Saugus was killed when she was scaling off of an inflatable rock wall.
"As soon as she hit the platform it was like a trampoline and she just went flying up and hit her head on the cement," Cheryl Mulcahy said.
Days later, another scary scene in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A gust of wind swept away a bounce house full of kids.
"It's the most worst thing that could have ever happened to me, I thought I was gonna die," one rider said.
Inflatable ride injuries are on the rise. In 1997 roughly 1,300 injuries were reported to the consumer product safety commission.
In 2003, those numbers more than tripled to 4,300.
"Parents should not be playing safety roulette with their children's lives as they go into carnivals," Rep. Edward Markey said.
So what's being done to keep your kids safe?
Stricter ride regulations are now being enforced, but experts say you can't rely on that alone.
New state regulations require all inflatables12 feet or higher to be regulated. That means there must be a ride operator and the ride itself must be registered.
"It should have that 05 sticker, if it doesn't have that sticker call us we want to know about it," Thomas G. Gatzunis of the Mass. Dept of Public Safety.
The outdoor amusement business association says safety is their number one concern as well. They say they're working "closely with the state of Massachusetts Department of Public Safety to help insure the highest level of owner, operator and patron safety," Gatzunis said.
Not all rides are dangerous, but to play on the safe side, there are things you can do to become your own inspector.
Check your ride operator's badge; it will list the rides that person is certified to run.
Make sure the bounce house is securely staked to the ground and not just tied to the nearest fence, and look out for rips or tears.
And the blower used to fill the inflatable ride up should not be close by; it could melt the bounce house.
If something doesn't look right, it probably is not.
Stacey’s family now struggles because they know her death could have been prevented.
"It should never have happened, those people should not be able to have these things out if they are not safe," mother Ruth Surrette said.
It's their hope that new regulations and Stacey’s accident will alert others to be more aware of this carnival caution.
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