A devastated mother has warned parents about the dangers of balloons after her little boy died choking on one.

Katie Chamberlain, of Indianapolis in the US, wrote on Facebook she was feeding her nine-month-old baby boy , Justin, on May 31 and then set him down to play in the living room.

Her other children had been playing with water balloons a few days earlier.

She noticed a balloon on the floor and threw it out but did not notice a second one, shares yahoo 7.

“My nine-month-old, while playing, found the balloon and as all babies do, stuck the new object in his mouth,” Ms Chamberlain wrote.

“I didn’t see him put it in his mouth but I looked at him and saw he was gagging so I went to him, in a hurry, hoping to retrieve whatever it was but it was too late.”

The balloon went into Justin’s airway and his lips turned blue.

She called an ambulance and tried the Heimlich manoeuvre and CPR, but nothing worked.

He was rushed to hospital but could not be saved.

The Danger for kids

Indiana University Health’s Dr Edgar Petras told ABC 8 News balloons were the most “common object” to for young children to choke on.

Ms Chamberlain wrote her little boy’s death was “all because of a stupid balloon” and warned parents to be careful with their children around the decoration.

Katie is begging parents to know CPR and be aware of the dangers.

“Proper CPR and heimlich is something all parents need to learn. In an emergency situation you only have 3 to 4 minutes. Every last second counts.

“I knew what to do and still lost my baby. I know personally I’ve always had a false since of comfort that I could help my children if they choke”, wrote Katie.

“After all how many times have I been able to grab something out of one of my kids mouth before anything bad could happen over the years? As I’m sure many if not all parents have experienced. I was still cautious with what my kids played with and what I bought as toys. I cut their food up, even for my 7 year old, and make them sit while eating too. I’m what most might call “over protective” with a lot of things.

“So when I say I had no idea just how dangerous balloons are I mean it. I knew they posed a potential choking hazard but I never knew just how hazardous. They are responsible for about 50% of choking fatalities. HALF OF ALL CHOKING FATALITIES CAUSED BY A SIMPLE BALLOON!! Believe it or not, balloons cause more childhood deaths than any other toy. And most of balloon related deaths are between the ages of 3 and 8 years.

“Like me I know many parents are clueless. Otherwise, balloon companies would be out of business. I didn’t let my kids put them in their mouth, other than to blow them up, and I NEVER let my babies play with them even being especially careful while my 2 year old played water balloons with his older brothers.

“Unfortunately, just having them around is too much risk in and of itself. In many cases there is simply not enough time to react to a balloon going in to your child’s mouth before its too late. It’s not as simple as watching them with the balloons because it can and does happen EXTREMELY fast.

“They are light weight and sticky. A deep breath in ,which who doesn’t take before blowing a balloon up, is all it takes to send it flying down your airway.”

Katie added, “It’s not worth the enormous risk for a few minutes of fun. It’s not worth the horrible guilt that you will feel if something happens to your child. Now all we have left are memories, pictures, and a few of his belongings. There is no pain greater than that of a grieving parent.”

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  • Oh gosh…..how horrible for the entire family.
    I hope the other children dont feel any guilt over this.


  • A terrible tragedy that should never have happened. Condolences to the family


  • I’ve never really liked the water balloons because they are so small.
    I feel sorry for the family


  • What a tragedy and all because of a stupid balloon. I would never have thought them to be dangerous. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful son Justin.


  • What a very sad story. I watch my kids like hawks when they have balloons around them. As soon as they pop, straight into the bin but I’m always scared that I’ll miss one & my kids too will put in their mouths.


  • What a terribly sad and tragic story. I had no idea balloons were so dangerous. I don’t like much about balloons and this is just one more reason. It’s sad that stories like these are the way we educate and inform ourselves.


  • How sad for the family. And with something you don’t really realize the dangers of :(


  • I never realised they could be so dangerous – they have always been an accepted thing to play with growing up.


  • Unfortunately I have heard of this many times. I never let my kids play with deflated balloons-even now and they are all Primary School age. Scares me to death.


  • Such a tragic story and so very heartbreaking for the family – wishing them every sympathy. Such a terrible accident with a balloon.


  • I have always hated balloons, they are not just dangerous for babies and toddlers but also all the marine life that choke on balloons from people letting them go. They are also disease carriers from people blowing them up. STOP BUYING AND USING BALLOONS, BAN THE BALLOON.


  • Such a tragedy. It’s so easy to miss something, no matter how vigilant you are. This poor family.


  • That’s it. All balloons are banned from my house permanently. 3 kids in and so far I’ve been lucky, but I do remember an incident not so long ago where my baby started choking on her lunch while we were at a cafe. Inside I was terrified as I grabbed her, outwardly I had to be calm because my sister was panicking and the LO was starting to panic also.


  • Sweet little one. Not always easy to check on a small child when there are older kids around. :-(


  • What a very sad accident! Call me paranoid but when it comes to my child I treat everything as a chocking hazard and try to make sure there’s nothing small laying around. But it is also very hard when there are bigger kids around that may be leaving small things laying about.


  • How awful it’s all parents worst fear. I hope she’s able to save another family from the awful pain her family has been through.


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