NewsA 5-year-old dies while playing. The doctor warns against the toy

A 5‑year-old dies while playing. The doctor warns against the toy

Karlton died after playing with a balloon.
Karlton died after playing with a balloon.
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4:19 PM EDT, November 3, 2023

Five-year-old Karlton succumbed to an unfortunate accident while playfully battling with his cousins. The coroner is now cautioning parents about the toy that factored into his untimely demise.

Karlton Donaghey, a native of Newcastle upon Tyne in England, was visiting his cousins in Dunston in June 2022. Their playful camaraderie was fierce and they constantly came up with innovative games. Unfortunately, one of these seemingly harmless games morphed into a tragic incident.

5-Year-Old's Death Linked to a Toy Balloon

At one point during their playtime, Karlton excused himself to use the restroom. He retreated inside the house, but unusually, he didn't return for quite some time. This odd delay caused his parents to investigate.

A chilling scene greeted Karlton's mother at home. The five-year-old was lying unconscious on the floor, with a large dinosaur-shaped balloon entwined around his neck. His mother frantically freed him from the toy and initiated resuscitation efforts. Shortly after, he was rushed to the hospital. Sadly, despite the best medical efforts, he passed away six days later.

"The balloon was the same size as Karlton. I think he intended to conceal himself behind it, then pop out to surprise his cousins. I tore the balloon off him and began screaming. I believe I carried him towards the patio door. As his mother, I could sense that he was already gone. He was limp, his eyes wide open, and so pale," Karlton's mother shared with "Metro".

Doctors initially surmised that the cause of death might have been helium poisoning. The results of the coroner's examination, released more than a year after Karlton's death, confirmed this speculation. The forensic doctor called for greater control of similar toys due to the considerable danger they pose to children.

"Toys like the one that eventuated in this tragedy are readily accessible in stores without restrictions, especially at venues catering to children's entertainment. Parents and caregivers often underestimate the risk these helium-filled balloons pose. In my view, necessary preventive measures should be implemented to avoid future tragedies," stated coroner James Thompson.

The coroner has appealed to the Office of Product Safety and Standards, a division of the British Department of Business and Trade. The agency has until December 18 to respond to the coroner's report. To date, no statement has been issued in response to the doctor's claim.

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