A 12-year-old girl from California died after huffing freon from her grandmother’s air conditioner.
Kristal Salcido was in seventh grade in Victorville, California. Last week, she was declared brain dead after she huffed from the air conditioner outside. Her family decided to take her off life support four days later.
Her death was a wakeup call to many parents as huffing seems to be a trend amongst pre-teens in recent months. Salcido’s parents are warning families everywhere about the dangers of huffing and the trend of teens using air conditioners to get a high.
It appears to be most popular among younger teens, as a recent survey showed one in five children have tried to get high by puffing chemicals before they were in the eighth grade.
Many of the inhalant-related deaths are from the same way Salcido died - huffing freon from an air conditioner.
“Coming home and seeing my granddaughter laying on the floor. Grandkids crying, not knowing, not knowing what happened,” her grandmother told KTLA.
“This little girl that was so innocent. How could I know?
Classmates at Mesa Linda Middle School were also shocked by her death, describing her as caring and popular.
But her death wasn’t so shocking to Ron Postoian, who owns an air conditioning repair service in Victorville. He said many repair calls he receives are for recharging the freon in air conditioners. He believes this is because young teens are huffing it.
Postoian said the gas doesn’t even give the teens a high, it just deprives the brain of oxygen. It’s the deprivation of oxygen that leads to dangerous side effects.
He encourages parents to be aware of this trend and to install safety locks on air conditioners to prevent access to the gas.