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Helium Balloons - The Do's and the Don'ts for Kids Parties
Helium is a non-toxic and inert gas, and the 2nd lightest in the known universe, after Nitrogen. These properties make helium balloons an all-time party favourite.
However, certain party practices, like inhaling helium that gives one a Donald Duck voice, have proven to be dangerous.
That leads us to ask whether helium is good for parties? The answer is yes, but it must be used correctly and with caution and vigilance.
What is Helium?
Helium was first discovered terrestrially in 1895 by the Scottish chemist Sir William Ramsay in London. ‘Helium' is derived from the Greek word 'Helios' which implies the sun.
It has been so named as the gas was first detected in the sun's corona during a solar eclipse.
In addition, Helium is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, and monatomic gas. It is also the first in the noble gas group in the periodic table. Moreover, its boiling point is the lowest among all the elements.
Other than being used in balloons, Helium is used as a lightweight aircraft fuel, as the superconducting magnets in MRI scanners, and divers use the combination of oxygen and helium during their dives.
A study in the Journal of Forensic Sciences found that between July 2005 and December 2009, more than 79 Australians were found to have died from inhaling helium, a staggering increase of 163%.
Helium gas is said to displace the air in the lungs and cuts off the oxygen supply.
It causes people to lose consciousness and halt breathing by rupturing air sacs in the lungs.
Laws in New South Wales
In New South Wales, a maximum amount of 20 balloons at a time is allowed to be released in the air.
Throughout Australia, only New South Wales adopted this legislation back in 1999. No other states followed suit due to insufficient scientific evidence regarding Helium's harmful properties.
Credit: Pexels, CC0 License. 2016
The legislation further states that only latex balloons, hand knotted with no ribbon must be used, and not micro foil. Most of the balloons will rise 8,500 meters high, where the latex will weaken due to the cold air.
The air is also very thin at that height, and this causes the latex to shatter into tiny pieces before returning to the ground.
In this way, the concerns over marine life deaths by choking on larger remnants of the balloons is eliminated, as smaller latex pieces are able to be ingested by them.
Making Parties colourful and fun
Even though Helium has certain disadvantages, it can prove to be extremely useful, though needs to be handled with caution.
According to ShinDigs party hire, “One of the best ways to decorate parties and functions is with balloons and one of the easiest ways to do that is to fill them with helium”. When done safely, they add colour and entertainment for kids.
Parties are always more fun and colourful with balloons, and far more with helium balloons that bring more drama and style with its floating properties.
Why not have your guests release red, white, and blue balloons that reflect the national flag, making the party even more patriotic and fun?