Huffing – Your Child can Die

And he huffed and he puffed, but he could not blow the house down.  The three little pigs are one of those fairy tales that we tell our little innocent children to teach them to make the right wise decisions in life.  Unfortunately “huffing”, “sniffing” and “bagging” has got nothing to do with the three little pigs and are definitely not a wise decision being made by our children.

How do they do it?

  1. They hold the product directly to their mouths and inhale the contents.
  2. A cloth can be placed over the product to act as a filter.  The contents are then inhaled through the cloth.
  3. Sometimes they soak a rag with the chemical, which is then held to their face or sometimes even stuffed into their mouths, to be inhaled.

This trend is particularly disturbing as 22% of children who try it for the first time die.  Huffing is very popular under children between the ages of 12 to 14, but children as young as 6 to 8 years old have been found to”innocently” experiment with different household chemicals.  A recent study in the USA found that 20% of all 8th Graders have on one or more occasions participated in huffing.

Cardiac arrest is the most common cause of death, but children also die as a result of suffocation, burns and choking.  Due to the depression that follow the euphoria, many children commit suicide.  Children who are lucky enough not to pass away suffer a variety of different damages to their bodies:

  • Permanent brain damage
  • Impaired concentration
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of coordination
  • Lung, heart, liver and kidney damage.

Parents should be on the look out for the following signs that might indicate that your child might be abusing inhalants:

  • A chemical odor on your child’s breath and clothing is one of the most tell tale signs.  Inhalants can take up to two weeks to leave the body, mostly through exhaling.
  • Keep a look out for stains on your child’s clothing.
  • Spots and sores around the mouth can be an indicator of abuse.
  • Children who abuse inhalants are often complaining of nausea.
  • They have a lack of appetite.
  • Weight loss due to lack of appetite and nausea are common.
  • They seem restless and nervous, and can have outbursts of anger.
  • If your child seem drunk, dazed or have glassy eyes, it is important to get him to a medical practitioner immediately.

A simple preventative measure is to talk to your child about huffing.  Children are 36% less likely to try this deathly trend when their parents discuss it with them.  An open and honest relationship with your child will definitely pay off.

For a comprehensive list chemicals children abuse visit: Chemicals

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