Helium balloons convey happiness. They are used as party decorations and given as "Get Well" gifts. Most consumers have no idea that, if used incorrectly, helium balloons can be dangerous.
Inhaling helium from balloons is a popular party trick for all ages. After inhaling helium, the voice gets higher and often invokes laughs from the crowd. According to gas supplier BOC Gases, this is nothing to laugh at. Inhaling helium decreases a person's oxygen supply, which can be fatal.
Helium balloons are unsafe for small children, as they contain small parts, especially when uninflated or when they burst, and could cause choking if swallowed. Young children should never be unsupervised around balloons.
The majority of helium balloons are manufactured from latex. It is possible to have a latex allergy, although reactions are usually minor, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Helium balloons released into the air will eventually burst and return to the ground in the form of litter. While latex will eventually decompose, it is classified as litter until this happens.
Foil, or Mylar, balloons filled with helium are dangerous when released. They conduct electricity and can cause problems if they become tangled in power lines.