Just hours after a birthday party, an 8-year-old girl went to bed at her home in Portland, Ore., only to be found not breathing by her father 20 minutes later with a large Mylar balloon over her head. Now her devastated family is hoping to raise awareness about the dangers of balloons. “Right now, it’s too raw with everybody.
What can you say? We all want to turn back yesterday and start over again,” says the girl’s grandmother, who was at the house when the girl was found last week. “Everybody just hug their kids and tell them you love them.” The girl’s death, which has been ruled an accident, won’t be officially investigated.
The family thinks she must have tried to open the 3-foot balloon and suck the helium out by putting it over her head.
After finding the girl’s foot sticking out from under her blankets and the balloon over her head, the father cut the balloon off and performed CPR until medical personnel arrived and spent nearly an hour trying to revive the girl.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that balloons are the leading cause of death by suffocation among children in the US, though most accidents involve deflated balloons or the parts of balloons. “The CPSC does not believe that a completely inflated balloon presents a hazard to young children,” it reports.
The girl’s family begs to differ and urges other parents to take this story seriously and hopefully avoid a similar tragedy. (Here’s another way at least 1,000 kids have died by suffocation.)