Discussions to Have with Your Kids: Helium Can Kill You
[Editor's Note: Last weekend, 14-year-old Ashley Long died after inhaling helium at a birthday party. If that sentence made you stop in your tracks, you're probably like every other person who tried to change their voice. I think of the movie My Best Friend's Wedding where the teen boys were hanging out, singing in funny voices. I don't think I knew that helium can kill you. Dori at Cleveland Homeschooler is helping get the word out about the dangers -- and imploring you to talk to your kids. I know I will be -- after I tell my husband first! -Jenna]
But who hasn’t breathed in a little helium out of a balloon so they could temporarily sound like Donald Duck? I have. And I had no idea how dangerous it could be. Helium inhalation as evolved from simple amusement while cleaning up after a party to using it AS the party. Helium has become a cheap high for many teens. Why is it so dangerous?
Chances are that a little helium out of a balloon will, at worst, just cause you to pass out. But there is a growing trend of using helium tanks at parties which greatly increases the risks of something very bad happening. First, as stated above, if helium is being forced into your lungs, oxygen is being forced out – rapidly. And even a basic understanding of science tells us that no oxygen = no body function. Second, the force of inhaling helium out of these pressurized tanks is strong enough to rupture the lungs. This article explains things further.
So talk to your kids. And tell your friends to talk to their kids.
Photo Credit: kaizat.