Raise your hand if you've ever taken a hit of helium to make your voice sound squeaky. Now put it down if you've ever warned your kids not to mess around with helium. If your hand just went down, you might want to call the kids into the room to hear this story.
A teenage girl named Ashley Long went to a slumber party last weekend. But instead of coming home exhausted from too much gabbing and giggle, the 14-year-old is dead. Doctors are saying the Oregon teenager died from an obstruction in a blood vessel caused by inhaling helium from a pressurized tank.
I guess I have your attention now?
This story scared the pants off of me, to be honest. When I was a kid, this was just good -- I'll even say clean -- fun. We weren't doing drugs in a back alley. We were talking like idiots. We were the good kids! And that's just the type of thinking that could get your kid killed, it seems.
Doctors are saying it's relatively rare to die from helium inhalation, but considering I'd never heard of it until now, it's less rare than I would think or hope. Just a little Googling, and I found a 17-year-old boy who died of it in 2010, and four people, including a 10-year-old boy, who were claimed in just the span of a week back in 2006. And there were reports of scary things like burst lungs and serious hemorrhaging.
All that risk so you can sound like Donald Duck? Yeaaaaah, so not worth it!
My heart goes out to Ashley's parents right now, because I'm betting they never even thought to tell their daughter not to do this. Because really, who has? Well, now, hopefully, a lot of us. We should all add this one to the list of things that don't seem that bad, but are worth talking to the kids about anyway.
Does it scare you that the most innocuous seeming things could end up costing your kids their lives?
Image via ursonate/Flickr