Health Canada Urges the Public to Discard Children’s Balloon Blowing Kits

Health Canada is advising parents and caregivers of the dangers associated with balloon blowing kits. Anyone having them is urged to immediately take them away from children.

On August 20, 2008, Health Canada inspectors removed 1,574 children’s balloon blowing kits from sale at the Central National Exhibition (CNE) fairgrounds in Toronto, Ontario. Between August 15th and the 20th an unknown number of these prohibited toys were sold to the public at the exhibition. The toys were sold at three booths within the “International Pavilion” section of the CNE in the area identified as “Products of Philippines”.

Children’s balloon blowing kits have been banned in Canada since 1973. These toys typically consist of a solvent mixture in a tube and one or more plastic straws for blowing. Children can form balloons or bubbles by dipping the short straw into the solvent and blowing through the straw.

The safety concern is that blowing the balloons exposes a child to inhaling the vapours of any solvents present. Children can be fascinated with these products, and if they blow balloons for extended periods they may experience early symptoms of central nervous system depression or dysfunction, including euphoria, hallucinations, dizziness, and difficulties with coordination of voluntary movements. Prolonged exposure can lead to more serious symptoms including muscular twitching, unconsciousness, and coma.

These products should be safely disposed of in regular household trash in such a way that they cannot be reused.

There have been no illnesses or injuries to children reported to Health Canada related to the use of the balloon blowing kits recently removed from sale.

To report a safety-related concern with a consumer product, the public is advised to contact the Health Canada Product Safety office, toll-free, at 1-866-662-0666, or e-mail [email protected]

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 Contacts: Media Inquiries: Health Canada 613-957-2983  Public Inquiries: 613-957-2991 1-866-225-0709  

SOURCE: Health Canada

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