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May 1, 1996

Reducing Choking Deaths in Children

Author Affiliations

The Balloon Council Washington, DC

JAMA. 1996;275(17):1313. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530410027024

To the Editor.  —The Balloon Council would like to commend Dr Rimell and colleagues1 for helping to educate parents that children younger than 8 years should be supervised when playing with latex balloons. Their article and the many stories about it that appeared in print and electronic media certainly have helped to increase public awareness of the need for this supervision.In an effort to eliminate all choking deaths associated with latex balloons, many manufacturers began adding warning labels to packages in the late 1980s. When formed in 1991, The Balloon Council encouraged all manufacturers to use the labels. The results have been dramatic. In 1989, there were 16 deaths associated with balloons. The most current data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission indicate that 6 deaths occurred during 1994.2Another way of showing the impact of education is that in the 10 years before warning labels were