Losing a child is the single worst thing a parent can go through.
Losing a child when you yourself may have prevented what happened? That’s something I daren’t even think about.
A tragic accident occurred recently in Indianapolis, when a mom of four discovered her 9-month-old baby unresponsive on the floor.
In the midst of sorrow and sadness, however, she wants to talk about what happened in the hope that it might save a life in the future.
The least we can do is share her story.
Katie Chamberlain was a proud mom of four having the time of her life. Her boys were happy and healthy, and the whole family was looking forward to the summer and all that it promises.
Like so many other moms with young children, Katie took her sons out into the yard for a little play outside.
Chamberlain allowed her young boys to play with water balloons – something they all enjoyed. However, when they returned inside, things took a sudden, fatal turn.
One of the balloons had somehow worked its way inside the house.
It was a sole deflated balloon, but it was all that was needed for Katie’s 9-month-old son, Justin, to encounter a danger he couldn’t have possibly foreseen at his young age.
“My nine month old while playing, found the balloon and as all babies do stuck the new object in his mouth. 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,” she recounted.
The panicked mom leapt into action and began both CPR and the Heimlich manuever, but neither made a difference.
As the baby gagged and tried to inhale, the balloon became lodged in his windpipe, which was no wider than a straw. Justin suffocated to death.
Now, this isn’t meant to be a story concerning parental negligence. Katie loved her son with all her heart and did everything she could to save him when the incident occurred.
And yet, he lost his life.
As it happens, balloons aren’t merely a choking hazard for children in their infancy, either. According to doctors, it’s one of the most common causes of choking incidents for children of all ages.
In the United States alone, around 110 deaths have been documented where children have got deflated balloons stuck in their throats.
Children under the age of 3 run the greatest risk of suffocation, with those between the ages of 1 and 2 the most commonly affected. What many don’t know, however, is that balloons can be a serious hazard for any kids under the age of 8.
Doctor Edgar Petras, specialist and paediatrician, explains: “Out of our choking accidents worldwide, or nationwide, the most common object is a balloon to result in a fatal accident.”
Chamberlain was within reach of her young son, and spotted trouble the moment her baby began to choke. It all happened too fast for her to do anything to save him.
“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,” her Facebook post reads.
Katie’s tragic story is a crucial reminder to all parents with young children. Some may simply read it and continue with their day, but others may take the words to heart.
If you have young children at home, consider alternatives to balloons or other suffocation hazards when children play.
You never know what kind of accident may befall your loved ones, but always keep yourself informed and knowledgeable, and ensure you’re alert and aware.
All it takes is a second for things to change, as Katie knows all too well.
Please keep deflated balloons away from children. Throw away discarded balloons immediately!
Help us share Katie’s warning. It’s our hope it can save more lives in the future.