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Dr. John Knox's New Study Reveals 479 weather-related bounce house injuries, 28 deaths

Student stands in a UGA themed bounce house

Over a decade ago, Dr. John Knox saw a joke on Facebook comparing the phenomenon of runaway bounce houses to the scientific study of dust particles in the atmosphere. Several years and hundreds of hours of intensive, intricate research later, Dr. Knox now admits that bounce houses are no joke. The results of his recently published study reveal a plethora of injuries and deaths caused by a volatile combination: windy weather and large inflatable structures.

The study reveals that bounce houses can be nearly as threatening to children’s safety as trampolines, especially when exacerbated by inattentive parents or improperly anchored equipment. Alongside several graduate students, Dr. Knox engaged in a meticulous information gathering process involving cartographic data-mining, social science meteorology, regulatory investigation, and information dissemination procedures to achieve the study’s results.

"This research is a prototype for the kind of work geographers can do. The initial collection of the wind-related bounce house accidents was data mining on the Internet, combined with cartography. The identification of the meteorological causes was atmospheric sciences, but with a social science spin because we had to use qualitative methods to classify, including intercoder reliability tests. We delved into the regulatory landscape, which was a dive into legalese and qualitative methods, again, something that Josh Barkan is better at than I. And then the website development exhibits the community outreach angle that is classic geography. So, this is what geography looks like--no siloes, everything together." -Dr. John Knox


Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, Undergraduate Coordinator for ATSC Program

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