Boy, 5, dies ‘from helium poisoning’ after trying to climb inside dinosaur balloon

After attempting to get inside a dinosaur balloon the same size as him, a five-year-old kid died ‘from helium intoxication.’

Karlton Noah Donaghey, of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, decided to dress up like a balloon to surprise his family.

Lisa Donaghey, 43, discovered him on the floor of their Dunston house with the helium balloon wrapped around his head and neck.

The child was given CPR at the scene before being taken to Newcastle-upon-Royal Tyne’s Victoria Infirmary (RVI) for emergency care.

He was in critical care for six days until his ventilator was turned off on June 29 at The Great North Children’s Hospital.

Lisa, who is also the mom to Kaitlin, 25, Joe, 20, and Will, 15, said the family was enjoying the beautiful weather in the garden on June 23 when the tragedy occurred.

She stated that she had gone to check on Karlton after he had gone inside to use the restroom.

Lisa explained that when she got in, he was on the floor with the balloon over his head and neck. It was a dinosaur balloon the same size as he was.

She supposed he disguised himself as a dinosaur in order to surprise his nieces outside. She yelled as she yanked the balloon away from him.

She believes she dragged him to the patio door. As a mother, she understood he was no longer alive because he was motionless. He was pale and had wide open eyes.

Karlton had purchased the enormous, green balloon as a treat on June 17 while visiting The Hoppings funfair in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with Lisa and his father, Karl Donaghey, 35.

His parents reported it was his first time at the funfair and he adored the rides.

Lisa added that he had been incredibly well mannered and he hadn’t asked for anything, he was never unhappy. He got a reward since he was so well behaved.

He was obsessed with dinosaurs, and ‘dinosaur roar’ was likely one of his first words. He had a lot of dinosaur and dragon literature, as well as a lot of dinosaur toys.

Kaitlin and her eight-month-old twin girls, Renàe and Tiànna Hodgson, had come to visit on the day of the tragedy.

Amiee Morrison, Kaitlin and Lisa’s neighbour, performed CPR on Karlton until paramedics came.

Lisa explained that she simply slumped outdoors on the grass. She had to shout and scream and cry. She couldn’t bring herself to come back in. Her child was being worked on and she was paralysed with fear and horror.

Amiee stepped over for Kaitlin and didn’t back down. She worked tirelessly on her son till the paramedics came and took over. She was excellent. The ambulance arrived in four minutes, but it seemed like four hours.

Lisa said that the Great North Air Ambulance Service, the North East Ambulance Service, and Northumbria Police all arrived at her home.

Karlton was evacuated to the hospital, where Lisa saw him after being driven in a police car with blue lights.

Lisa added that she recalled a specialist saying that he was in a pretty poor situation. She simply fell on the ground and couldn’t get up. Her baby son, her baby boy, she sobbed. It was simply awful.

Lisa said that she never left Karlton’s side when he was in intensive care at The Great North Children’s Hospital.

He started to have seizures, she added, and doctors told her there was nothing further they could do to rescue him. Karlton died on June 29 after his ventilator was switched off.

Lisa explained that she read to him and sung to him. She scrubbed his face, fingers, and hair and applied Vaseline to his lips and made certain he was fresh.

His heart was beating itself, and his numbers appeared to be improving, but he was having tremendous seizures. He was severely impacted by the previous seizures. He wouldn’t be able to function because everything has been ruined.

He was attempting to battle on, yet she realized he was battling with a single ounce of strength, and it was draining him completely.

She told him, ‘Enough being bold and go to bed.’ She can live without him and do him proud. ‘Just close your eyes and relax,’ she said, and ‘don’t worry about mammy.’ She assured her son that it would not break her.

They took the sedative away from him, and he quickly worsened. She had the wonderful chance to lie in bed with him, hum and sing in his ear, and snuggle him to her breast until his little heart stopped beating. Her tiny kid just fell asleep and he looked stunning.

As a mom, she realised she couldn’t bring him home. She is  just glad she got to spend six days with him.

Lisa stated that prior to Karlton’s injury, he had requested a Dachshund puppy, and she had assured him one while he was in the hospital.

She got a dog after he died and named him Fudge after the giraffe mascot of The Great North Children’s Hospital.

Lisa added that he’s given great comfort to all, and he’s helping her through it. He’s naughty but charming.

Karlton was the same way; he was such a sweet child. Karlton has a compassionate personality and is constantly thinking of others. He was both courteous and cheeky; he was a complete character.

He’d recently lost his two bottom teeth and was learning to ride his bike without stabilisers. She would  sit for three and a half hours monitoring him to make sure he was secure. He was her best buddy and sidekick; they did everything together from daylight to night.

The reason for Karlton’s death is thought to be helium ingestion, although this has yet to be proven by a coroner. Lisa is now concerned about the hazards of helium.

Lisa explained that it’s a poison that can take a life in seconds. It’s quite risky. It took his son’s life; he was merely pretending to be a dinosaur. It can take the life of a youngster as well as an adult.

She encourages parents, grandparents, childminders, adults, students, and everyone else who has come into touch with helium to exercise caution in how they use and discard it.

A wonderful five-year-old was gone far too soon, and she would never wish this anguish on anyone.

Please share this story to spread awareness so that no one experiences such a terrible tragedy.

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