Indiana mother warns others after 9-month-old son dies from choking on balloon

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An Indianapolis mother is warning other parents after her 9-month-old son died from choking on a balloon.

Katie Chamberlain and four of her sons were filling up water balloons last month when an empty one ended up inside her home. Her 9-month-old son, Justin, managed to grab ahold of the stray balloon.

“It was just so fast,” Chamberlain told WRTV. “I couldn’t even get to him fast enough before the balloon was gone and he couldn’t breathe anymore.”

Chamberlain rushed to give her son CPR, but it was too late.

“As soon as I was there, he was already turning blue,” Chamberlain said.

Doctors at Indiana University Health say balloons are among the top deadly choking hazards for young children.

“Out of our chocking accidents worldwide, or nationwide, the most common object is a balloon to result in a fatal accident,” Dr. Edgar Petras, IU Health Emergency Medicine Pediatric Specialist, told WRTV.

Chamberlain said if she had known the risks, she would’ve never had the balloons in her house.

“It’s not worth it,” she said.

Parents can take a few steps to help prevent children from choking on balloons, including:

  • Using mylar instead of latex balloons
  • Storing latex balloons out of reach of children
  • Not letting children blow up latex balloons
  • Throwing out deflated balloons and pieces of popped balloons

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