Warning to parents as boy, 5, suffocates after playing with helium balloon in tragic accident | The Sun

A FIVE-YEAR-OLD boy suffocated after playing with a helium dinosaur balloon in a tragic accident.

A coroner described Karlton Noah Donaghey's death as "every parent's nightmare" as he issued a warning about the dangers of balloons.

Karlton died after putting his head into a dinosaur-shaped helium balloon while playing with cousins, an inquest in Newcastle heard.

Assistant coroner James Thompson says he will now write to Newcastle City Council's public health department asking them what action can be taken to raise awareness of the risks.

Karlton died on June 29 last year, six days after what investigators called a "tragic accident", his inquest was told.

He had been playing in the garden of his family's home in the district of Dunston in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, before being found unconscious in the living room.

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He had headed inside and placed a dinosaur-shaped helium balloon over his head and face, a police investigation found.

Northumbria Police's Det Chief Insp Laura Defty told the inquest: "This was a tragic accident and the parents were in no way to blame.

"These balloons can be commonly purchased.

"I don't think there's anything that could have been done to prevent this."

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A nurse neighbour offered emergency treatment, while medics were called from North East Ambulance Service and the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

Karlton suffered a hypoxic brain injury and died six days later, the hearing was told.

Pathologists Dr Srinivas Annavarapu and Dr Louise Mulcahy agreed that helium he inhaled from a balloon displaced oxygen in his lungs.

His GP told the inquest Karlton had no history of illness.

Mum Lisa paid tribute to her son at the start of the inquest, ChronicleLive reported.

She said: "I just want everyone to understand that Karlton was an incredibly precious boy.

"He was our only child and he was precious to everyone he met.

"This tragic accident took him away from everyone who loved him."

"As his mum and dad we will carry him with us forever."

Mr Thompson recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said: "Karlton was a five-year-old child at the time of his death and he lived with his mother and his family.

"He had a happy family life and was very well-loved.

"Karlton, on the balance of probability, out of curiosity or indeed in search of a moment of fun, has placed a balloon filled with helium over his head and face.

"I agree with the police that this was a tragic accident."

"Karlton was simply a young boy with a curious mind looking for new experiences and dare I say some fun.



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"I want to make it clear that no-one could have predicted what would happen to Karlton that day – and it is every parent's nightmare what did happen to Karlton that day."

He said he would be writing to the city council's public health department "to see what can be done in terms of public awareness of the risks of helium balloons".

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