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05th May 2024

Devastated parents want to raise awareness after 13-year-old daughter dies from ‘chroming’

Nina McLaughlin

‘To me it seems it’s a pistol sitting on the shelf’

The parents of a teenager who died after taking part in a dangerous trend called “chroming” have issued a desperate plea to avoid further deaths.

Esra Haynes, 13, was at a sleepover with friends when she inhaled aerosol deodorant on Easter Sunday and went into cardiac arrest. The gifted Year 8 student, from Melbourne, Australia, spent eight days on life support before her parents made the difficult decision to turn it off. Doctors had told them Esra would not have recovered from the brain damage chroming had caused.

Chroming, which is also known as huffing or sniffing, is when someone inhales toxic chemicals. These include paint, solvent, aerosol cans, glue, cleaning products, or petrol. The practice can affect the central nervous system and slow down brain activity, resulting in a short-term “high.” But, it can also result in slurred speech, dizziness, and hallucinations. Nausea, vomiting, and disorientation. And it can result in a heart attack or suffocation and permanently damage the brain, liver and kidneys.

Esra’s parents, Paul and Andrea Haynes have now spoken out, urging children and other teens not to make the same mistake their daughter made.

The couple had no idea what chroming was until they got a call saying their teenager was being taken to hospital.

Speaking on Australia’s A Current Affair, Paul said: “Kids don’t look beyond the next day. They really don’t. Especially not knowing how it can affect them.”

Andrea added: “The ripple effect is that this is absolutely devastating, we’ve got no child to bring home.”

The couple’s heartbreaking story was enough to reduce the show’s host, Ally Langdon, to tears.

Esra had just been named co-captain of her under-14s AFL team on the day she fell victim to the trend.

Paul told A Current Affairs about his daughter’s final days, saying doctors asked the family to bring loved ones and friends in “to say goodbye to our 13-year-old daughter; it was a rare very difficult thing to do for such a young soul”.

“She was put onto a bed so we could lay with her, we cuddled her.”

The Haynes’ are calling for action to prevent another death like Esra’s.

They want CPR to be a mandatory lesson in all schools as well as for deodorant formulas to be made safer.

“To me it seems it’s a pistol sitting on the shelf. We need the manufacturers to step up and really change the formulation or the propellants,” Paul said.

Esra’s sister, Imogen, earlier told told 7News: “We definitely have a mission to raise awareness for kids and anyone that does it. We don’t want that to happen to anyone else. We don’t want another family to go through this, it’s absolutely horrible.”

Her brother, Seth, added: “I just want to put awareness out there that it can happen very quickly, and we don’t want to lose any more amazing people.”