DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A councilor is proposing a ban on using hydrogen gas for party balloons following a mother’s social media post that such balloons had caused injury to her seven-year-old son celebrating her birthday.
Councilor Maria Belen Acosta raised this matter in her privilege speech during Tuesday’s City Council session, raising concern that some party prop businesses use hydrogen instead of helium to inflate balloons as it is cheaper.
Acosta reacted to a post made by Tina Co on February 6, who narrated the incident during his birthday last February 3.
Co said her son and other children were tossing a big balloon that had tiny balloons inside. Later on, her son took the balloon to their bedroom as he was relieving himself when they were startled by a loud explosion.
“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,” Co narrated.
When they rushed to their bedroom, she found her son sustained a minor burn on his forearm from the melted balloon skin.
When Co informed the seller about the incident, the owner apologized and admitted that their staff forgot to put a warning sticker on handling the balloon safely.
Co did not mention the name of the store but wanted to drive her message to the public and prop sellers to take caution.
“I am not here to shame the balloon seller. I will not bother to mention the shop as they are just doing business. I just want people to be more aware and to be more careful. Never allow your kids to play with balloons that float especially if you are not sure if it’s hydrogen or not,” she added.
Co said that her research showed that hydrogen in the balloon can react with oxygen along with friction to create energy that was the cause of the sudden explosion inside their house.
“The big balloon contained tiny balloons inside which were 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” she added.
Co’s post on social media has earned more than 12 thousand shares and over 500 comments. Some of these comments compliment Co’s effort to caution and explain the danger of the floating balloons with hydrogen inside.
“An object as seemingly harmless as a party prop but in actuality is a ticking time bomb needs to be regulated,” Councilor Acosta said during her speech on Tuesday.
Acosta pointed out that hydrogen is “notoriously flammable” and a “dangerous substance” that needs to be regulated to avoid possible danger to children and damage to property.
Her proposed ordinance is now filed under first reading and will return to her committee on Peace and Public Safety for public consultation which will formulate provisions and imposition of penalties.
Back in 2019, Acosta also passed an ordinance that bans the release of balloons and sky lanterns during events and occasions to ensure public safety as it poses risks to low flying aircraft and power lines. (davaotoday.com)