Fast forward about 25 years and then I start to hear the stories and begin to understand how destructive and deadly pretty colored party balloons can be. And even though I live in a very small town, I know of TWO, yes that's TWO babies who have suffocated to death on balloons.
As strange as that sounds, try to picture sharp little baby teeth biting into an inflated balloon as it pops sending a stray piece of that balloon flying at lightening speed right down their windpipes. If I know of TWO babies myself, think of how many there must be.
And if you think the danger stops once they get past the baby stage, think again. There have been children who have actually inhaled a balloon while attempting just to blow it up. Little fingers that don't have a tight enough grip on the balloon opening as they inhale with all their might trying to inflate it. It has actually been reported that balloons cause more choking deaths than balls, marbles or toy parts.
So now that my 5-year-old daughter is in kindergarten, the birthday invitations are pouring in and with every one of them, a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I think to myself "I wonder how many balloons are going to be there?"