8-year-old Portland girl suffocated by birthday balloon

Birthday balloon may be to blame in Portland girl's accidental death

Portland Fire officials say an 8-year-old girl suffocated Wednesday night in her Northeast Portland home, and a mylar balloon may be to blame.

The girl had gone to bed around 9 p.m. and when her parents checked on her 20 minutes later, she wasn't breathing.

Her grandmother, Pat McGloghlon, was home when it happened. She says the child's father found her in her bed.

"My son went in to check on her and all he saw was a foot sticking out of her bed. Then he took the covers off and found the balloon on her head," McGloghlon said. "He put her on the floor and cut the balloon off her head. He started CPR and we called 911."

Portland firefighters responded to their home at NE 142nd Avenue and San Raphael around 9:30 p.m.

McGloghlon said the little girl's parents are devastated.

"Right now, it's too raw with everybody. What can you say? We all want to turn back yesterday and start over again," the grandmother told KATU.

She hopes telling her granddaughter's tragic story will warn other parents and save children's lives.

"Everybody just hug their kids and tell them you love them," McGloghlon said.

Officials say the girl tried to suck helium out of the balloon, and ended up suffocating. There had been a birthday party at the home earlier in the evening.

Her death was ruled an accident and there won't be an official investigation.

The family has set up a account for donations.