Shocking CCTV shows children's deadly act inside washing machines

There are concerns the children's acts are part of a deadly habit that is becoming more 'mainstream'.

Several children have been caught purposefully sniffing harmful substances while inside washing machines and dryers at a laundromat, with the owner shocked "no one is taking interest".

The owner of Double Bubble Laundromat in Hamilton, New Zealand, claims children between the ages of eight and 12 have been getting inside or behind the washing machines and then getting high from breathing in aerosol fumes, sometimes even losing consciousness or spitting blood, NZ Herald reports.

In CCTV footage from the premises, one child appears to emerge from a machine as another opens and closes the door.

Stills from a video of one child appearing to emerge from a machine in a New Zealand laundromat after apparently sniffing aerosol, which is part of a worrying habit with young people.
Video footage of one child appearing to emerge from a machine in a New Zealand laundromat after apparently sniffing aerosol, which is part of a worrying habit with young people. Source: NZ Herald

“We are pretty scared,” the co-owner told the publication. “We’ve made a number of calls to police... they say it’s not an emergency. It’s sad to know that no one is really taking any interest."

Is sniffing inhalants a growing trend?

Director and Founder of Drug and Alcohol Research And Training Australia Paul Dillon told Yahoo that while "inhaling household products to get high is not a new thing", there are concerns it's become "more mainstream and across a wider group of young people".

"They're very, very dangerous," he said. "The thing that we're seeing around this area is that this tended to be a drug that was used by young people who usually had a range of other social problems. But in the last couple of years it seems to have gone a little bit more mainstream."

What are the risks?

By intentionally breathing in chemical substances like deodorant and hairspray to get a temporary high, also known as 'chroming' or 'huffing', people can expose themselves to a variety of medical issues and even death, according to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.

Initial reactions include slurred speech, euphoria, hallucinations, followed by depression, seizures, damage to the liver, kidneys and heart, and Sudden Sniffing Death, often led on by cardiac arrest.

"Where you can define the deaths that occur, they tend to die from Sudden Sniffing Death," Mr Dillon said. "As it suggests it tends to happen very quickly and even if you get medical help, the death can occur before help arrives."

"And because its such young people who tend to experiment with them, they don't necessarily have the life skills to respond appropriately if something goes wrong."

Just last week, thirteen-year-old Esra Haynes suffered cardiac arrest from huffing in Melbourne, the Herald Sun reports. There are reports the habit can be exposed to children through social media like TikTok.

Message to parents and educators

Two photos of Brooke Ryan who died at 16 after sniffing a deodorant in 2022.
There have been several deaths in recent years from sniffing aerosol, including a 16-year-old, Brooke Ryan, from Broken Hill, who died after sniffing a deodorant in 2022. Source: Facebook

When asked how parents and educators should navigate a serious problem like this, Mr Dillon said "it's very difficult", especially when it comes to avoiding "copycat situations".

"You've got to have a balance and think, 'how to educate effectively without stimulating interest?'" he said.

He also said it's difficult for parents to "look out for signs" if their children are using inhalants, as "realistically they're probably not going to see major differences".

"Lots of challengers for both parents and educators in this area," Mr Dillon said.

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