KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Kids love jumping on them, and many parents like them because they wear their kids out. But have you ever wondered how clean bounce houses are?
Newschannel 3 put them to a germ test.
"If there is a lot of bacteria, then it can cause some fairly nasty things, staph infections, the MRSA, which is the antibiotic resistant staph," said Michael Pinto, an environmental engineer with Wondermakers Enviornmental, in Kalamazoo.
Pinto worked with Newschannel 3 to conduct a test for cleanliness.
We rented two bounce houses and tested them before any kids used them. A swab tests for biological residue. Pinto says any score above 100 indicates cleanliness is not where it should be:
"That number is telling us the overall level of biological residue. So that would include bacteria. But it would also include plant litter, and skin cells. Anything that's from a living organism," he explained.
Both rented bounce houses tested well above 100. The "lowest" reading was 2027, the highest all the way up to 4421.
We then compared these numbers to public bounce houses, used by many more children. We tested two locations. One scored 666, the other 1094. Both lower than the rental bounce houses, but still well above Pinto's preferred score of 100 or below.
"There are a lot of germs in the world. We do not keep our kids from having fun, but we use reasonable caution," Pinto told Newschannel 3.
Pinto says he would still let kids play in bounce houses. However, he recommends using a sanitizing wipe, on a rental unit, wiping it down before kids start jumping.
He says watch for cuts and bruises, if you see one, make sure and use hydrogen peroxide, ointment creams, and a bandage right away.
When kids leave the bounce house, wipe their hands and face with a baby wipe if possible, and do not let kids eat in bounce houses.
"Watch for cuts and bruises," said Pinto, "because that is really the combination of that bacteria that might be in there, and then the opening of the skin is going to be the bad part."