The grief-stricken parents of a 13-year-old girl, who tragically lost her life due to inhaling hazardous chemicals from a deodorant can, are determined to ensure their daughter’s legacy lives on.
Esra Haynes, a student in Year 8 at Lilydale High School located in the outer east of Melbourne, suffered a cardiac arrest and irreversible brain damage as a result of participating in a disturbingly popular trend known as “chroming.” This distressing incident occurred during a sleepover at a friend’s house on March 31, 2023.
Paul and Andrea, her unsuspecting parents, were utterly unprepared for this devastating turn of events.
“It was just the regular routine of going to hang out with her mates,” mom Andrea said.
“We always knew where she was and we knew who she was with. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary,” Paul added.
“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.’
“We’ve got the pictures in our mind which will never be erased, you know, of what we were confronted with.”
Paramedics fought desperately to resuscitate Esra on-site and informed Andrea that the teenager had engaged in “chroming,” an increasingly perilous trend prevalent among teenagers. This practice involves inhaling chemicals from aerosol cans to attain a rapid and dangerous high.
Regrettably, this intoxicating experience proved fatal for the vibrant and mischievous Esra. She was swiftly transported to the hospital in an unresponsive condition and placed on life support.
Tragically, after eight agonizing days, medical professionals conveyed the devastating news that “her brain had incurred irreparable damage.” Consequently, the family made the heart-wrenching decision to terminate life support.
“They’re asking us to bring a family, friends to say goodbye to our 13-year-old daughter,” Paul said.
“It was a very, very difficult thing to do to such a young soul.”
Esra’s parents, along with her older siblings Imogen, Seth, and Charlie, embraced and comforted her until her last moments.
Sadly, Esra, a 13-year-old girl from Victoria, became the most recent victim among a series of Australian teenagers who lost their lives due to the dangerous practice of “chroming.”
Tragically, in 2019, a 16-year-old boy from New South Wales perished after inhaling an aerosol, while in 2021, a 16-year-old girl from Queensland experienced brain damage as a result of chroming.
Furthermore, in 2022, another 16-year-old boy from the same region lost his life due to the inhalation of deodorant.
As a response to the escalating thefts of deodorant and mounting concerns about the increasing prevalence of chroming, numerous Coles and Woolworths supermarkets in Australia commenced securing their deodorant cans in 2021.
Following Esra’s tragic passing, the Victorian Education Department intensified its efforts to educate schoolchildren about the perils of chroming. Medical experts have also voiced their concerns regarding its hazards.
Nevertheless, Paul and Andrea are advocating for more decisive measures and widespread changes to prevent other families from enduring similar heartbreak. They are urging aerosol manufacturers to reformulate deodorant formulas to enhance safety. Additionally, they advocate for the inclusion of CPR training in all schools across Australia, with a mandate for regular refresher courses every two years.
“For me, it’s a pistol sitting on the shelf,” Paul stated of the deodorant cans.
“We need the manufacturers to step up and really change the formulation or the propellants.”
In addition, he emphasized the necessity for stricter oversight of social media, which the Hayneses believe is how Esra became aware of chroming. They advocate for comprehensive measures to close the loopholes that allow children to access “adult content.”
However, their primary objective is to ensure that both children and their families comprehend the profound repercussions associated with chroming.
“Kids don’t look beyond the next day, they really don’t. And especially not knowing how it can affect them,” Paul added.
“Esra would never have done this if she would have known the consequences.”
“But the ripple effect is that this is absolutely devastating,” Andrea said.
“We’ve got no child to bring home or anything.”
The Haynes family has suffered the loss of a beloved daughter and sibling, while Esra’s Australian Football League club mourns the absence of a teammate and co-captain. Her friends grieve the loss of a dear companion, and the entire community mourns the absence of a remarkable young woman with a bright future.
Despite the profound heartbreak they endure, the Haynes family finds solace and strength in honoring their daughter’s memory.
“We need to talk about it,” Paul stated. “Her name meant ‘helper’ so that’s what we’re here to do.”