Balloon Warnings

Child Safety Basics

Balloons are fun, even if they can be a choking hazard.
Balloons are fun, as long as you supervise your kids to keep them safe. Photo by Vincent Iannelli, MD

When parents thing about toy safety and young children, they mostly think about choking hazards from balls, marbles, and small toy parts.

Balloons Are Hazards Too

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.

Of course, that doesn't mean that kids can't play with balloons anymore. Just be safe and recognize that they can be a hidden danger if your kids aren't supervised.

Balloon Warnings

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 required. 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

You can also simply get Mylar balloons for your kids next party. These aren't considered to be as big a choking hazard, especially since they don't break into smaller pieces as easy as latex balloons.

 

Sources:

 

CPSC Warns Consumers of Suffocation Danger Associated with Children's Balloons. Pub. 5087 012012

21st annual Trouble in Toyland report. Attachment B. Toy Related Deaths, 1990-2005. Public Interest Research Group

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