Medicine: Capsules, Oct. 9, 1972

— Soft, resilient and apparently harmless, rubber balloons seem like ideal toys for toddlers; some kids even like to nibble the knot. But balloons can also be dangerous, report three Honolulu physicians in the journal Pediatrics. Drs. Yi-Chuan Ching, J. Dempsey Huitt and George Nagao say that balloons that burst while being chewed or inflated can explode with such force that fragments of rubber may be propelled back into the mouth and windpipe, causing asphyxiation. The trio base their warning on a review of a score of fatal accidents plus their own observations...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!