Policies and Procedures

Balloons in paediatric areas

  • 1. Procedure statement

    In recognition of health and safety risks associated with latex balloons & balloons tied on lengths of strings, or on sticks/rods, latex balloons are prohibited throughout paediatric areas.

    Where Mylar (foil) balloons are secured by lengths of string, the string shall be no longer than 30cms.

    2. Persons Affected

    All hospital staff, volunteers, students, patients, and visitors.

    3. Definition of terms

    Latex Balloons - balloons manufactured using rubber/latex

    Balloons on strings - any inflated item attached to a length of string.

    Balloons on stick/rods - any inflated item attached to a stick/rod.

    Mylar Balloons - are balloons manufactured with foil.

    4. Responsibility

    All staff are to observe this procedure and ensure that families and visitors are supported in abiding by this procedure.

    Occupational Therapist/Physiotherapist/Early Intervention Teacher may use latex balloons in therapy situations where no suitable alternative is available and where there is no known allergy latex.

    Clinicians in this instance must ensure there is supervision at all times; that the child does not inflate the balloons, and that the balloon is not taken away from the treating area.

    Department Heads/Unit Managers are to ensure the following procedures are adhered to in their Departments/Units.

    5. Criteria

    • Latex balloons are strictly prohibited from paediatric ward areas including:
      • Designated play areas in all hospital buildings,
      • Staff creches,
      • Waiting areas where children are present, and in the
      • Starlight Room;
    • Mylar (foil) balloons on strings are permitted under the follwing conditions:
      • Where the length of string is no more than 30 cms;
      • They are not affixed to the end of a stick / rod

    5.1 Awareness of Criteria  

    • All staff are made aware of this procedure on induction to the department;
    • Patients/families/visitors are informed of this procedure in their ward orientation. Explanation should include the reasons why this procedure has been put in place;
    • Information to be included in parent booklet and on the parent information website;
    • All convenience stores located on hospital sites are advised not to stock Latex balloons or Mylar balloons on sticks/rods.

    6. Special provisions/reference documents (which may be referred to)