Let’s face it, changing your voice to sound like Mickey Mouse can seem fun and quite the party trick, but the choice to inhale helium to do so could be fatal. Helium is an asphyxiant, in large doses, Helium will disperse the oxygen in your lungs and cause suffocation and you will die.
Between July 2005 and December 2009 more than 79 Australians were found to have died from inhaling the gas, which equates to an increase of 163%, a 2011 study in the Journal of Forensic Sciences discovered.
As with most toys and items that have small parts balloons can also present a choking hazard for small children and animals. Balloons should always be discarded properly after use.
Parents should always :
- supervise children under age 8 years when they interact with balloons.
- Try to avoid popping balloons, as remnants of them may be difficult to locate. A safer alternative to deflating a balloon is to use scissors to make a small incision near the knot and slowly release the gas inside.
- Mylar and paper balloons are a far safer option than latex balloons.
- collect and discard all pieces of a broken balloon as soon as it breaks
- If a child or animal ingests a balloon or balloon part seek help immediately.