7-year-old Tennessee girl dies while playing with her birthday balloons, mom says - CBS News

A 7-year-old girl died recently in Tennessee while deflating helium balloons from her birthday party, the child's mother said. The mother, Channa Kelly, warned other parents about the potential hazards of balloons for young kids in a social media post about her daughter's death. 

Kelly purchased a series of decorative balloons for her daughter, Alexandra Kelly, ahead of her seventh birthday party on Sept. 24, she wrote in a Facebook post shared on Sunday. The balloons included a large 34-inch Mylar balloon, which is made from foil and inflated with helium, as well as about ten "Roblox themed" balloons made from latex. The larger foil balloon was shaped like the number seven. Balloons

7-year-old Tennessee girl dies while playing with her birthday balloons, mom says - CBS News

"As a parent I was always aware of the choking hazard of latex balloons, but never imagined that there was such a risk regarding these very large Mylar helium filled balloons," Kelly's post read. 

She said that one week after the birthday party, on Oct. 1, Kelly sat with her daughter as she popped each of the latex balloons. When the child asked to pop the larger foil balloon, Kelly said she told her "that was fine" and then "fell asleep briefly" in her bedroom, "unaware of any dangers with this type of balloon."

"I would have never imagined that she would have been able to fit this balloon over her head," Kelly wrote on Facebook. 

But when Kelly returned to the living room after falling asleep, her daughter was lying face-down on the floor, with the foil balloon around her head.

Kelly said she started to perform CPR, which a crew of police, firefighters and paramedics then took over as they arrived at her home, but her daughter could not be revived despite the attempted life-saving measures. She said it was unknown whether the child died from helium poisoning or suffocation, and the preliminary results of a cause of death report could be pending for as long as six months.

"On Sunday October [1st] my entire world collapsed around me all because I was unaware of the the risk surrounding these types of balloons," Kelly said. "I hope by sharing our story that I can bring awareness and educate parents about the dangers of not only latex balloons but also Mylar balloons."

The child lived in Clinton, a Tennessee city within the Knoxville metropolitan area, according to an obituary shared via a GoFundMe campaign for the family's funeral costs and reporting by CBS affiliate WVLT-TV. Her death is under investigation by police, the news station reported. CBS News contacted the Clinton Police Department on Tuesday but did not receive an immediate response. 

In an interview with WVLT-TV around the time of the child's funeral last week, Kelly described her daughter as "wonderful, so vivacious and independent."

"She loved swimming, was a little fish," Kelly said, adding, "She was absolutely amazing, just the sweetest little girl with a big heart. She was amazing." 

First published on October 10, 2023 / 9:20 AM

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7-year-old Tennessee girl dies while playing with her birthday balloons, mom says - CBS News

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