A FIVE-YEAR-OLD boy suffocated after playing with a helium dinosaur balloon in a tragic accident.
A coroner described the death of Karlton Noah Donaghey as “every parent’s nightmare” as he warned about the dangers of balloons.
Karlton died on June 29 last year, six days after what investigators described as a “tragic accident”, the inquest heard.
He had been playing in the garden of his family’s home in the Dunston area of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, before he was found unconscious in the living room.
An inquest in Newcastle heard he had gone in and placed a dinosaur-shaped helium balloon over his head and face while playing with his cousins.
Northumbria Police Chief Constable Laura Defty told the inquest: “This was a tragic accident and the parents were in no way to blame.”
“These balloons can be bought anywhere.
“I don’t think there was anything that could have been done to prevent this.”
A neighboring nurse offered emergency treatment while paramedics were called from the North East Ambulance Service and the Great North Air Ambulance Service.
Karlton suffered a hypoxic brain injury and died six days later, the hearing heard.
The pathologists Dr. Srinivas Annavarapu and Dr. Louise Mulcahy agreed that helium that he inhaled from a balloon displaced the oxygen in his lungs.
His GP told the inquest that Karlton had no history of illness.
Mother 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 has separated him from everyone who loved him.
“As his mother and father, we will carry him with us forever.”
Mr Thompson gave a verdict of accidental death.
He said: “Karlton was a five-year-old child at the time of his death and lived with his mother and family.”
“He had a happy family life and was very popular.
“Karlton placed a helium-filled balloon over his head and face based on probability, curiosity, or in search of a moment of fun.
“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 it, fun.”
“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 happened to Karlton that day.”
He said he would write to the city council’s health department “to see what can be done to raise public awareness of the risks of helium balloons”.