Tennessee to vote on deregulating inflatable rentals

According to an article by Fox17 News in Nashville, Tennessee a bill will go in front of the “Business & Utilities Subcommittee” Tuesday to vote on whether inflatable play structures that are rented out are actually considered Amusement Devices. The Bill which is called the SB 1694 on the Tennessee General Assembly website states: “Recreational Areas – As introduced, specifies that inflatable play structures that are leased are not considered “amusement devices” and are not subject to regulation by the department of labor and workforce development. – Amends TCA Section 68-121-101.”

This means that if the bill amendment is passed inflatables that are rented will not have to be inspected by Tennessee law. This seems to be quite a step backwards and there are many inflatable rental owners that are not happy about this. According to a local abc news station the reason for this move is that Senator Mike Bell of Tennessee argues that bounce house inspections are “not effective or needed”. He said that you can’t check the condition without inflating the inflatable which would take “hours and manpower that the state doesn’t have.” The senator also claims that most injuries occur due to lack of supervision or set-up not because of malfunction.

The fact is, bounce houses do become run down after time. Seams come loose, they can get tears, etc. If these bounce houses are not being inspected these things can easily go unnoticed. The injuries from a ripping or deflating inflatable can cause very serious injuries and if businesses are not required to inspect them, there are some that won’t do it.

The TCA 68 defines an amusement device as: “Any mechanical or structural device that carries or conveys a person, or that permits a person to walk along, around or over a fixed or restricted route or course or within a defined area, including the entrances and exits to the device, for the purpose of giving persons amusement, pleasure, thrills or excitement. ”” However these devices (which may soon include rented inflatables) are not considered to be amusement devices & are not subject to the inspection law: Devices operated on a river, lake, or any other natural body of water, Wave pools, Roller skating rinks, Ice Skating Rinks, Skateboard ramps, Mechanical Bulls, Laser Tag Games, All terrain vehicles, Motorcycles, Bicycles, Mopeds, Go karts & Bungee Cords.

An Inflatable Rental Operator commented in the news story said that he will continue to pay the $50 per inflatable inspection fee each year even if it is no longer mandated by law. Of course we also recommend that no matter what the law in your state is…getting your devices inspected is a very important safety step & will keep kids safe and also your premium from going up if an accident occurs! We need to be all trying to get inflatables regulated in every state not deregulating them.