In a viral Facebook post earlier this month, a mum shared how her son was injured while he was playing with 'helium' balloons
On 7 February, Tina Co from Davao, Philippines wrote that during their son's seventh birthday, they had ordered an elaborate balloon arrangement from a popular party supplies shop and were quite pleased with the order.
Her Facebook post has since been shared over 18,000 times.
Like most people, they kept the balloons for a couple of days and had only planned to throw them away once they shrivelled up.
On one of the nights, her son Aiden was playing with the biggest balloon, which she assumed was filled with helium.
However, what appeared to be seemingly harmless took a massive turn.
Aiden was tossing the balloon, which had other tiny balloons inside of it, and the rest of the family occasionally joined in on the fun.
"My son took it with him to the bedroom because he wanted to pee and suddenly we heard a LOUD explosion and the force rocked our house. We even saw a bit of spark/fire along with the boom. We rushed to check on him and bits of balloon skin were everywhere. Some got stuck on the ceiling and some melted on the floor tiles," she wrote.
Fortunately, the explosion did not hit her son's eyes and face. She wrote that he escaped with only one burn from a melted balloon skin that landed on his arm.
Confused by why 'helium' balloons, which normally do not burst, would suddenly do so, she contacted the seller to let them know what happened.
Turns out, the 'helium' balloons had been filled with hydrogen, a cheaper alternative to helium.
"They apologised sincerely and admitted to using hydrogen right away, saying their staff forgot to put a warning sticker. This is too dangerous and not many people know this. Like me, they would assume it's helium. Balloons are usually near cakes and lighted candles. A small spark even from an AirTamer can ignite the balloon," Tina added.
Tina added that she does not intend to shame the seller because it is just a business at the end of the day.
"I just want people to be more aware and to be more careful."
She also advised to "never allow your kids to play with balloons that float especially if you are not sure if it's hydrogen or not". Or unless "it was you who inflated it with your own breath or a balloon pump".
The mother added that their bedroom had no lit candle or open flame. Plus, their ceiling lights are LED and they don't heat up.
"Upon intense Googling, we discovered that if hydrogen was used to inflate the balloon, it can react with oxygen along with friction to create energy. The big balloon contained tiny balloons inside which was a recipe for disaster. Friction could have triggered the explosion plus the leaking of oxygen/hydrogen. No need for a spark or flame. It's a ticking time bomb if enough friction is made."
A previous similar incident took place in Putrajaya when balloons filled with hydrogen exploded and injured 16 people: