Hours after she celebrated her birthday, an 8-year-old girl from Portland, Oregon, was found dead in her room with a large Mylar balloon over her head. According to a Fox News report, the girl was found unresponsive and not breathing by her own father who checked on her just 20 minutes after she went to bed. The identities of the girl and her family have not been revealed yet.
According to Newser, the incident happened last week and added that the local police department has confirmed the incident to be an accident – meaning that it will not be officially investigated. A report by the TV station adds that the devastated family members are now planning to raise awareness about the dangers of balloons. In an interview with KATU, the grandmother of the deceased girl is quoted.
“Right now, it’s too raw with everybody. What can you say? We all want to turn back yesterday and start over again.”
The grandmother was also at the home where the accident happened. Family members now believe that the girl must have tried to open the 3-foot balloon and suck the helium out by putting it over her head. However, what actually happened might never be known.
According to reports, the girl’s father saw something amiss when he went to check on her a few minutes after she went to sleep. There he found the girl’s legs sticking out of the blanket and the balloon over her head. He immediately rushed and cut the balloon off and performed CPR. He also called emergency services who arrived there a few minutes later. The father continued to give the non-responsive girl CPR till the personnel arrived on scene. They, too, tried to revive the girl by various methods – with the efforts continuing for over an hour. However, they were unable to rescue the girl and later declared her dead.
According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, balloons continue to remain a leading cause of death by suffocation among children in the United States. However, the commission also adds that deflated balloons and parts of balloons are the cause of most accidents and maintains that inflated balloons do not posses a threat to children.
“The CPSC does not believe that a completely inflated balloon presents a hazard to young children,” it reports.
However, following this incident, the girl’s family differs from them and is asking other parents to take the threat from balloons very seriously. They are hopeful that their efforts would help avoid a similar tragedy.
The CPSC also adds that more than 1,000 children in the United States have died of suffocation since 1934. However, many of these deaths that happened due to a game known as the “suffocation roulette,” “cloud nine,” or simply the “choking game,” which has been claiming lives of children and teenagers since decades. Most recently, a 13-year-old boy from Colorado Springs, Colorado, identified as Memphis Burgess was found dead by his dad on December 10 kneeling against his closet wall with a soft rope nearby. Burgess was the last victim of the choking game, police officers believe. Many such deaths have in the past been passed off as suicides because authorities were not aware of of the game.
If you are the parent of a young child, please be aware about the possible dangers of balloons. They could pose a real danger to the well-being of your child.
[Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision for Dr Pepper Snapple Group/AP Images – For representational purposes only]