Urgent warning to parents as 5-year-old boy dies after helium balloon tragedy


Karlton Noah Donaghey died tragically after the helium balloon over his head got stuck in his childhood home.

A devastated mother has issued an urgent warning to parents after her five-year-old son died when a helium balloon was wrapped around his neck.

Karlton Noah Donaghey died tragically after the inflatable boat got stuck over his head at his childhood home in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, in the north east of England.

His heartbroken mother Lisa Donaghey, 43, found him trapped in the dinosaur-shaped balloon after trying to climb into it on June 23. The sun reported.

The youngster was given CPR on site before being flown to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Karlton spent six days in intensive care before his ventilator was sadly turned off at Great North Children’s Hospital on June 29.

Mother of four Lisa now desperately warns parents of the dangers of helium balloons after the loss of her youngest son.

Karlton’s cause of death is believed to be ingestion of the gas, but this has yet to be confirmed by a coroner.

Lisa told ChronicleLive: “It is a toxic substance that can take a life in seconds. It’s very dangerous.

“It cost my son’s life, he just wanted to be a dinosaur playfully. It could cost a child’s life and it could cost an adult’s life.

“I want parents, grandparents, childminders, adults, students, anyone who has come into contact with helium to be careful about how they use and dispose of it.

“A precious five-year-old was abducted too soon and I would never cause anyone this grief.”

She shared how she had enjoyed the warm weather in the garden before the tragedy with her children Kaitlin, 25, Joe, 20, Will, 15, and Karlton.

The 43-year-old had checked on Karlton after going in to use the toilet before finding him unconscious.

She recalled: “When I came in, he was lying on the floor with the balloon over his head and neck.

“It was a dinosaur balloon the same size as him.

“I think he put himself in the balloon to be a dinosaur to go out and surprise his nieces. I pulled the balloon off him and screamed.

“I think I carried him to the patio door. As a mother I knew he was gone, he didn’t respond.

“He had his eyes wide open and he was pale.”

The mother had bought the large green balloon for the five-year-old along with his father Karl Donaghey, 35, six days earlier as a treat after visiting The Hoppings funfair.

In a cruel twist of fate, it was Karlton’s first time on the ride and he had enjoyed a fun day on the rides.

Lisa continued: “He had behaved very well and he had never asked for anything, he was never ungrateful.

“He was very well-mannered, so he got a treat. He loved dinosaurs — ‘dinosaur roar’ was probably one of his first words.”

She shared how her daughter Kaitlin and the family’s neighbor, Amiee Morrison, had desperately tried to resuscitate Karlton until doctors arrived.

The mother said, “I just fell on the grass outside. I must have screamed and screamed and screamed.

“I couldn’t bear to come back in. My son was being worked on. I was numb with fear and terror.

“It took four minutes for the ambulance to arrive, but it felt like four hours.”

After arriving at the hospital, Lisa received the devastating news from a consultant that her son was “in very bad shape”.

She said: “I just hit the floor, I couldn’t get up. I cried, ‘My baby boy, my baby boy.’ It was just awful.”

Karlton suffered seizures while in intensive care before doctors told his loved ones there was nothing they could do to save him.

Lisa sobbed: “He tried to fight on, but I knew he was fighting with a little energy, it cost him everything.

“I said to him, ‘Stop being brave, go to sleep. I can do without you and I can make you proud.’

“I said to him, ‘Close your eyes and rest’ and, ‘Don’t worry about Mommy.’ I promised my little boy it wouldn’t break me.

“As a mother, I knew I wasn’t going to take him home. I’m just thankful I had the six days with him.”

As a touching tribute to a beloved son, Lisa bought a Dachshund puppy he’d begged for before his untimely death.

She poignantly named him Fudge after the giraffe mascot at Great North Children’s Hospital.

Lisa said: “He has brought us all a great comfort, he’s got me through it. He is dead naughty but sweet.

“Karlton was exactly the same, he was such a loving child. Karlton had a caring nature and always thought of others.

“He was my little best friend and my little sidekick, we did everything together from morning to night.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and is reproduced with permission

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