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How are balloons a choking hazard for small children?

Broken or un-inflated, balloons can choke or suffocate young children who try to swallow them.

More children have suffocated on non-inflated balloons and pieces of broken balloons than any other type of toy. 

Many parents are surprised to find out that a leading cause of childhood death is choking from balloons. The danger lies in the balloon taking the shape of the child’s windpipe or airway and not moving through as a solid object would. Children up through age 8 are at risk, so keep a close eye on those party balloons. Put uninflated or popped balloons far out of children’s reach. You may want to avoid latex rubber balloons altogether and use mylar balloons instead -- they won’t deflate or pop as easily as latex balloons, so they are less of a hazard.

From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.