Balloons Are Hazards
Surprisingly, latex balloons cause more choking deaths than balls, marbles, or toy parts. In addition to choking or aspirating on broken balloon pieces, some children actually suck in uninflated balloons while trying to blow them up. Part of the reason that so many children choke on balloons may be that parents underestimate the choking hazard from latex balloons, especially to older children.
Are helium balloons dangerous?
It is not safe to inhale helium from a balloon (several times in a row). Helium is an asphyxiant. If you breath mostly helium, it will suffocate you and you will die. Taking a single suck of helium from a balloon so you will talk funny is not dangerous.
Although most toys with small parts are labeled as being a choking hazard to children under age 3 if they have small parts, it is important to remember the warning label that should be present on balloon packages:
CHOKING HAZARD: Children under 8 yrs can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision is required at all times. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.
To be safe, parents should:
- supervise children under age 8 years if they play with uninflated balloons
- collect and discard all pieces of a broken balloon as soon as it breaks
- Mylar and paper balloons are far safer than latex balloons.
- Don’t pop balloons. A safer way to deflate a balloon is to make a small cut with scissors near the knotted end of the balloon. This will allow the balloon to deflate slowly (plus, it doesn’t make that alarming popping sound!).
- Get help right away. Always reach out for medical help if needed