Should you set up a bounce house without a permit?

Winny

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
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I was on reddit earlier and came across an interesting post from someone who is interested in setting up a bounce house for a preschoolers birthday party in Southside Park, Sacramento. Unfortunately the city currently doesn't have permits available for the date they want to host the party, and they are considering not applying for a permit and instead just setting up the bounce house. They are of course concerned about the said risks, but should they be worried if they set up a bounce house unpermitted? They are worried the party could be shut down due to it.

With that being said, I thought this would be interesting to share, because I don't think most people are aware that a permit is required for a bounce house. What's the worst that can happen if they go unpermitted? Could they be fined? Has anyone had a similar experience to this? How did it go for you?

If interested in checking out the post, you can find that on reddit below:
shutterstock_2372320247.jpg
 
Location
Sacramento County, California, United States
I think the first thing that comes to mind is the children, and their safety. Especially when it comes to a bounce house at a preschool birthday party. I think most people would be able to get away with not getting a permit. But there is a risk that city officials and law enforcement could come over and shut it down. Of course the chance of that happening is probably low, especially in areas with limited resources, but you should assume it can still happen.

Problems can come up if the bounce house receives complaints from the public, or the bounce house violates local ordinances or safety regulations. I'd suggest checking with your local authorities about maybe exacting temporary allowances. But, you should also prepare different forms of entertainment if the bounce house is forced to be taken down.

But still, I think the key thing is the safety of children. Bear in mind I've witnessed videos of bounce house accidents. If any children are hurt or injured, the damages could fall on you, especially if the accident is on your own property, which would probably be far worse.
 
I agree about the safety part. Permits aside, I honestly wouldn't want to set up a bounce castle/house with kids that young. I would definitely not want to be liable if something wrong happens.
 
I agree about the safety part. Permits aside, I honestly wouldn't want to set up a bounce castle/house with kids that young. I would definitely not want to be liable if something wrong happens.
Yeah it's something to consider if you go the route of setting this all up without the proper permit. The liability falls on the homeowner or the person hosting the party. Especially if a child ends up getting injured and the bounce house was never permitted to begin with. Not only could you face penalties for being unpermitted, but you could face legal trouble and even lawsuits from the family of said child.

But, that's the risk you take when going the unpermitted route. It might be 100% safe and it might go perfectly fine, but there's always that risk of accidents or mistakes.

If you can, get permitted. If not, and you want to really risk it, I'd say make sure you set up the safest bounce house ever, and have an adult monitoring it at all times. I figure a bounce house should never be unattended, so there should at least be one adult around.
 
I think the first thing that comes to mind is the children, and their safety. Especially when it comes to a bounce house at a preschool birthday party. I think most people would be able to get away with not getting a permit. But there is a risk that city officials and law enforcement could come over and shut it down. Of course the chance of that happening is probably low, especially in areas with limited resources, but you should assume it can still happen.

Problems can come up if the bounce house receives complaints from the public, or the bounce house violates local ordinances or safety regulations. I'd suggest checking with your local authorities about maybe exacting temporary allowances. But, you should also prepare different forms of entertainment if the bounce house is forced to be taken down.

But still, I think the key thing is the safety of children. Bear in mind I've witnessed videos of bounce house accidents. If any children are hurt or injured, the damages could fall on you, especially if the accident is on your own property, which would probably be far worse.
Thank you for the response. I agree, I think my main concern would be the dangers that come with it. But I think most people would be fine going unpermitted. But to be on the safe side, I would still reach out about possibly still getting permitted. It's crazy to me that they can only obtain a permit when one is available and on certain dates. Was so odd to me.
I agree about the safety part. Permits aside, I honestly wouldn't want to set up a bounce castle/house with kids that young. I would definitely not want to be liable if something wrong happens.
It's a huge risk to take, especially if you have a big party with lots of kids around. There's a lot of moving parts there, so anything can happen. If I were to use a bounce house for a party, I would make sure there are trained professionals around to make it safe. At least than you have a bit of added support.
Yeah it's something to consider if you go the route of setting this all up without the proper permit. The liability falls on the homeowner or the person hosting the party. Especially if a child ends up getting injured and the bounce house was never permitted to begin with. Not only could you face penalties for being unpermitted, but you could face legal trouble and even lawsuits from the family of said child.

But, that's the risk you take when going the unpermitted route. It might be 100% safe and it might go perfectly fine, but there's always that risk of accidents or mistakes.

If you can, get permitted. If not, and you want to really risk it, I'd say make sure you set up the safest bounce house ever, and have an adult monitoring it at all times. I figure a bounce house should never be unattended, so there should at least be one adult around.
I think if you have trained professionals handling the bounce house, like setting it up, monitoring it, etc, I think it would be fine and most people wouldn't have any issues. Getting a permit would be more ideal, but you're at least assured somewhat that a professional should know how to properly care for these bounce houses and make sure they're 100% safe for all.
 
I'm pretty sure the only reason a permit was required here was because they wanted to set the bounce house up at a city park. I noticed Sacramento County requires bounce house permits at their regional parks (see here) so I assume City of Sacramento has similar requirements (though I couldn't immediately find bounce house permitting info on the City's Parks & Rec website).

That being the case, I do think it makes sense that the City would limit the number of permits issued on a given day for each of its parks. It would obviously be disruptive to other park users if you had a hundred bounce houses operating all at once at a park, not just in terms of footprint of multiple bounce houses but also considering how loud it would be to have all those generators/blowers operating in the same area.

If I were the Reddit user, I definitely would not proceed with setting up an unpermitted bounce house at a city park. City personnel are usually present at big parks like that and I think there'd be a high risk of getting caught. If I were them, I'd really try to switch the venue to a private residence or other facility where permitting isn't a factor.
 
Setting up a bounce house without a permit, especially for kids, can pose safety and legal risks. Permits for inflatables are necessary due to safety concerns and potential liability issues. Without a permit, you may face fines, liability for accidents, or even the shutdown of your event. Always check local regulations and obtain the necessary permits before setting up any structures, including temporary structures.
 
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