Ally Langdon of Australia couldn’t hold back the tears as she spoke with a mother and father who had to make the heartbreaking decision to end the life of their 13-year-old daughter.
Langdon, herself a mother, found it difficult to contain her grief after learning that the girl had died as a result of chroming, a dangerous internet trend.
Andrea and Paul Haynes spoke on A Current Affair with host Ally Langdon to discuss the death of their daughter, Esra Haynes, 13, who tried out the fad of chroming, which involves breathing deadly chemicals through the mouth or nose to become high, and ultimately died as a result.
A young athlete who raced BMX bikes with her siblings and led her team to the national aerobics’ championship in Queensland, Esra was praised by her teammates as “determined, fun, cheeky, and talented” by the Montrose Football Netball Club, which she co-captained.
Esra went to a sleepover at a friend’s house on March 31 and, seeking a high, sniffed spray deodorant, causing her to go into cardiac arrest and suffer permanent brain damage.
“It was just the regular routine of going to hang out with her mates,” Andrea, her mother, said Langdon in the interview. Her dad, Paul, added, “We always knew where she was and we knew who she was with. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary…To get this phone call at that time of night, (it) was one of the calls no parent ever wants to have to receive, and we unfortunately got that call: ‘Come and get your daughter.’”
When Esra’s friends assumed she was experiencing a panic attack, Langdon explains, “but after inhaling deodorant, her body was actually starting to shut down, she was in cardiac arrest and no one at the sleepover used cardiac arrest.”
Andrea rushed to Esra’s side as paramedics attempted CPR, and Esra’s mother learned for the first time that her daughter had been chroming.
They took Esra to the hospital, where they clung to the hope that she would pull through. After all, she had a healthy heart and lungs, so maybe she could pull through.
Paul and Andrea were advised that Esra’s brain damage was “beyond repair” after eight days on life support, and that they “had to have that decision to turn off the machine.”
Her parents, overcome with emotion, recounted the agony of making the decision to end their daughter’s life.
Esra’s father recalled how challenging it was to ask loved ones to come say their goodbyes at the hospital: “It was a very, very difficult thing to do to such a young soul. She was put onto a bed so we could lay with her. We cuddled her until the end.”
As a mother of two young children herself, Langdon found the parents’ pain too much to bear and shed a few tears.
Paul claims that after Esra’s death in early April, the family is “broken,” and that Esra’s siblings Imogen, Seth, and Charlie are “shattered.”
“It was really devastating, devastating for everyone involved, all her friends as well,” Paul said. “It’s been the most difficult, traumatic time any parent could go through. We haven’t been sleeping, we’ve hardly been eating, we haven’t been smiling–we’re not ourselves…But it’s not just affected us, it’s the community as well.”
After losing their daughter to the trend, Paul and his wife have made it their mission to educate others about the dangers of chroming, which can be accomplished with common household items such as deodorant, paint, hairspray, or even permanent markers.
Paul wished he had known about chroming when Esra was alive so he could have warned her of the hazards, he said in an interview with a local news station: “If we were educated and the word had been put out there, we would have had the discussion around our kitchen table for sure.”
“We need to ramp it up and let these kids find out the information first-hand, and not through friends, and not through social media–then they’re given the right advice off the bat.”
Paul’s goal is to impart knowledge to parents so that they can provide a better future for their kids through schooling. The offspring.
“(Parents) need to sit and have a chat to their children, and just open that conversation up gently with them. We certainly didn’t know what was going on.”
Multiple children’s fatalities have occurred in Australia and elsewhere since 2009 due to the disturbing phenomenon of chroming.
Chroming, which can cause seizures, heart attack, asphyxia, abrupt smelling death, coma, and organ failure, is appealing to youth because it provides an instant and fleeting high.
“We’ve got the pictures in our mind which will never be erased, you know, of what we were confronted with,” Paul told Langdon. “Our gut was ripped out.”