Boy, 5, dies in tragic accident after trying to climb into dinosaur helium balloon

·4-min read
(Reach)
Five-year-old Karlton Noah Donaghey died after an accident involving a helium balloon. (Reach)

A five-year-old boy has died in a tragic accident after he tried to climb into a helium balloon.

Karlton Noah Donaghey, from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, was found by his mother with the dinosaur-shaped balloon over his head and neck.

He was given CPR at his home in Dunston before being lifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

He spent six days in intensive care before he died on 29 June at the Great North Children's Hospital within the RVI.

His mother, Lisa Donaghey, 43, has warned about the dangers of playing with helium balloons.

Ms Donaghey, who is also mother to Kaitlin, 25, Joe, 20, and Will, 15, said the family had been enjoying the warm weather in their garden when the accident happened on 23 June.

She said she had gone to check on Karlton after he went inside to use the toilet.

"When I came in he was on the floor with the balloon over his head and his neck," she said. "It was a dinosaur balloon which was the same size as him.

(Reach)
Lisa Donaghey with her son, Karlton, who died last month. (Reach)

"I think he's put himself in the balloon to be a dinosaur to go outside and surprise his nieces. I pulled the balloon off him and I screamed.

"I think I carried him to the patio door. As a mother, I knew he was gone, he was unresponsive. He had his eyes wide open and he was pale."

The balloon was bought for Karlton during a visit to The Hoppings funfair in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with his mother and father, Karl Donaghey, 35, on 17 June.

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"He had been really well behaved and he hadn't asked for anything, he was never ungrateful," said Ms Donaghey.

"He was really well mannered so he got a treat. He loved dinosaurs - 'Dinosaur roar' was probably one of his first words. He had lots of dinosaur and dragon books and lots of dinosaur toys."

On the day of the accident, Kaitlin and her eight-month-old twin daughters, Renàe and Tiànna Hodgson, had come to visit.

Kaitlin and Lisa's neighbour, Amiee Morrison, carried out CPR on Karlton until paramedics arrived at the house.

Ms Donaghey said: "I just collapsed outside on the grass. I must have screamed and screamed and screamed. I couldn't bear to come back in. My little boy was getting worked on. I was numb with fear and terror.

"Amiee took over from Kaitlin and she didn't give up. She worked and worked and worked on my boy until the ambulance arrived and they took over. She was just fantastic and I'm so grateful. It took four minutes for the ambulance to arrive but it felt like four hours."

Karlton's mother didn't leave his side while he was in the Great North Children's Hospital.

She said he began to suffer from seizures and doctors said there was nothing more they could do to save him. Karlton's ventilator was turned off and he passed away on 29 June.

(Reach)
Karlton Noah Donaghey died last month after he tried to climb into a helium balloon. (Reach)

"He was trying to fight on but I knew he was fighting with a little ounce of energy, it was taking it all out of him," she said.

"I told him: 'Stop being brave, go to sleep. I can cope without you and I can do you proud'. I told him: 'Just close your eyes and rest' and: 'Don't worry about Mammy'. I promised my little boy that it wouldn't break me.

"They took the sedation off him and he deteriorated rapidly. I had the beautiful opportunity to lie in bed with him, to hum and sing in his ear and cuddle him on my chest until his little heart stopped. My little boy just went to sleep and he looked so beautiful.

"I knew as a mother I wasn't going to bring him home. I'm just grateful to have had the six days with him."

Ms Donaghey said that before Karlton's accident he had asked her for a Dachshund dog and she promised him one while he was in hospital.

After he passed away, she bought a puppy and called him Fudge after the giraffe mascot at the Great North Children's Hospital.

She said Karlton "had a caring nature and he always thought of others".

She added: "He was polite and he was mischievous, he was a total character. He was my little best friend and my little sidekick, we did everything together from morning until night."

The cause of Karlton's death has yet to be confirmed by a coroner, but Ms Donaghey said: "I want parents, grandparents, childminders, adults, students, anyone that has come into contact with helium to be cautious about the ways they use it and dispose of it.

"A precious five-year-old has been taken too soon and I would never ever put this pain on anybody."

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