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The parents of a 13-year-old Australian girl who died after participating in a popular social media trend known as “chroming” call for tighter social media restrictions.
Esra Haynes, from Melbourne, died after going into cardiac arrest when she inhaled fumes from a deodorant can—a trend known as “chroming”—at a friend’s house in March, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Just over a week later, her parents had to make the difficult decision to turn off her life support due to the irreparable brain damage their daughter had suffered.
Speaking to 9 News Australia’s “A Current Affair” earlier this month, Esra’s parents, Paul and Andrea Haynes, described their daughter as “beautiful” and “cheeky,” adding that she had “the fullest heart.”
“She loved music, she loved sport, I think the world was her oyster,” Paul Haynes said before explaining how their lives changed within a “split second” on March 31.
Esra had been named co-captain of her under-14s AFL team earlier that day and headed to her friend’s house for a sleepover that evening, something she had done many times before, her parents said.
Later that evening, her parents received a phone call asking them to come and pick Esra up after she suffered what her friends initially believed to be a panic attack.
Shortly after, they discovered their daughter’s body was beginning to shut down after inhaling deodorant, and she was going into cardiac arrest. Emergency crews were called to the home and attempted to resuscitate the young teen, and she was then taken to the hospital.
‘We’ve Got No Child to Bring Home’
Doctors later performed a brain scan and found that Esra’s brain was damaged “beyond repair,” leaving her parents to make the difficult decision to turn off her life support after eight days.
“They’re asking us to bring our family, our friends, to say goodbye to our 13-year-old daughter,” Paul Haynes said. “It was a very, very, very difficult thing to do for such a young soul.”
“The ripple effect is that this is absolutely devastating. We’ve got no child to bring home,” her parents said.
Paul and Andrea Haynes believe Esra first saw “chroming” on social media and are pushing for restrictions to ban this sort of content from being made available to children across multiple platforms.
They are also calling for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) lessons to be made compulsory in schools nationwide, with children being trained every two years, and want changes to be made to the deodorant formula to make it safer and less toxic.
“Chroming” involves spraying an aerosol can into a plastic bag and then breathing in the vapors from the bag. It has become popular on platforms, including Chinese-owned TikTok.
The Epoch Times has contacted TikTok for comment.
According to the Better Health Channel, “chroming” and sniffing petrol are two of the most common forms of inhalant misuse in Australia, particularly among some young people.
Breathing in chemical substances can produce euphoric feelings or a “high” that is similar to consuming alcohol or cannabis, according to health officials. However, long-term or regular “chroming” can lead to significant health issues such as liver, kidney, or brain damage and, in some cases, death.
A 2017 survey of Australian secondary school students found that teenagers in their first few years of secondary school were the most likely to be inhalant users, with nearly 20 percent of students aged 12 to 17 years having used inhalants at least once.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (pdf), roughly 1 in 5 kids in the United States report having used inhalants by the eighth grade.
Following Esra’s death, the Victoria Education Department in Australia said it would bolster efforts to increase information among children regarding the dangers of chroming.
Additionally, multiple stores across Australia, working in conjunction with local police, have begun locking aerosol deodorants behind a glass case in response to the trend, according to reports.
“Esra would’ve never have done this if she had known the consequences. That it could take your life,” Paul Haynes said.