A 9-year-old boy was playing inside a bounce house in his frontyard in Adelanto on Saturday afternoon when strong winds swept the inflated enclosure onto a nearby highway a few hundred feet away, authorities said.
When the bounce house rolled onto Highway 395, it hit a car, said Sgt. Marc Bracco of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Then the boy tumbled out onto the No. 2 lane.
Fortunately, traffic stopped and he emerged with only scrapes and scratches.
"The kid got lucky," said Bracco, who added that in his 18 years in law enforcement, he's never seen a bounce house fly such a distance.
Bracco said it may have been a "freak accident" caused by the powerful winds.
"The winds have been strong in the high desert all weekend — but that area, the winds were going probably a litte faster up there," he said.
The boy's family had rented the bounce house for a family party with about 30 guests. The inflatable had been secured, but it's not clear how.
In the past, Bracco said, he has advised people to weight them down with concrete buckets or five-gallon water jugs, which he said are more stable than just hammering stakes into the ground.
"Once those stakes rip out of the ground, that stuff starts moving," he said.
The driver of the sedan that struck the bounce house was not injured, but he was shaken up, the Sheriff's Department said. The highway was closed for about two hours, jamming traffic.
It's not the first time a bounce house has blown away and caused injuries. In 2014, two young boys were seriously hurt in South Glens Fall, N.Y., when they fell from a bounce house that had been blown as high as 50 feet in a wind gust. A young girl who fell out right away also was slightly injured.
Less than a month later, two 10-year-old children in Colorado were slightly injured when an inflatable castle became detached from the compressor that was keeping it full of air.
As the castle started to deflate, wind sent it rolling as far as 300 feet away across a field during a lacrosse game.