Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008

Girl dies from swallowing balloon

A five-year-old girl from Northamptonshire died when she swallowed a balloon, an inquest heard.

Lily Breen was rushed to Kettering General Hospital on 17 March after her parents found her unconscious at their home in Desborough. She later died.

An inquest at Kettering Magistrates Court heard that an anaesthetist trying to ventilate Lily found a blue balloon in her throat.

Northamptonshire coroner Anne Pember recorded a verdict of accidental death.

High pain threshold

The inquest heard Lily, who was autistic, was very tactile and had a high pain threshold, often touching hot radiators with her hand or tongue.

Her mother Angela Breen said she had found Lily with the balloon earlier that day and had meant to get rid of it but had not got around to doing so.

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Lily Breen was found unconscious by her parents at their home in Desborough in March

Mrs Breen said she had not noticed the balloon again.

In her statement, she said: "We have since thought about it, I really don't know where she got it from.

"I am absolutely devastated by the loss of my little girl and I am trying to come to terms with it."

Ms Pember said Lily had a "habit" of putting things in her mouth and had obviously put the balloon in her mouth while her parents were not looking, which had then obstructed her airway.

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