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© 2002 AllTheRehj
All Rights Reserved
Revised: January 21, 2002

 

Below is a letter I wrote to send to my daughter's school principal in hopes of making some progress banning latex balloons in the school. Feel free to use it, but do alter it to your situation and re-word where possible. I included a couple of hospital policies concerning latex balloons, a NIOSH alert, and the JAMA article on the choking hazards of balloons.

Month Day, Year

Principal's Name
School Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear <insert principal's name>,

My daughter/son, <child's name> has attended Early Childhood classes at Unnamed Elementary School for the past year and four months and will attend again this coming fall. She has several educational and health issues which are addressed in her IEP and her IHP (Individualized Health Plan), including a natural rubber latex allergy. However, there is one major concern I have that cannot be addressed by either the members of the M-Team or the school nurse: the use of latex balloons within the school.

There are two reasons I believe rubber latex balloons should not be allowed at Unnamed Elementary School. First, the powder contained within a latex balloon places my daughter and the other latex-allergic children in school at significant risk for anaphylactic shock. Second, a latex balloon is a serious choking hazard for all children, including teenagers.

Latex balloons are dangerous for people with natural rubber latex allergy because they contain large amounts of the allergen protein, but mainly because they also contain powder which absorbs the latex proteins. When a balloon is inflated, deflated, popped, or played with, this powder is free to contaminate the air, even flowing through the school’s ventilation system. If a latex-allergic individual like <child's name> inhales the powder into her lungs, respiratory distress and/or anaphylactic shock can occur. Airborne latex powder can also sensitize students and faculty into developing a latex allergy.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 1995;274:1763-1766), latex balloons are responsible for more choking deaths than any other non-edible object. Even though they know that children tend to put balloons in their mouths, parents and teachers are often unaware that once a balloon fragment has conformed to a child’s airway, it is very difficult to dislodge it with the Heimlich Maneuver simply because balloons are designed to hold air.

I have enclosed a few articles on the dangers of latex balloons for you to read. I welcome a chance to meet with you to discuss this issue. Please contact me at the address, phone number, or email address above. If you would like to speak with <child's name, possessive> allergist, Dr. So Enso, you may call him at (555) 555-5555.

Sincerely,

<Insert Parent's name>

Enc: <Number of enclosures or articles included here>

cc: <Recipients of copies here>

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