‘He was a gift from god’ - parents warning after teen’s aerosol death
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
Heartbroken parents whose son died after breathing in deodorant have paid tribute to him and warned other families of the dangers of aerosol inhalation.
Susan Waple, of Main Street, in Hockwold, walked into her 13-year-old son Jack Waple's bedroom on June 13 and found him unresponsive, covered in blood, with his phone in one hand and a deodorant tin next to him.
Despite performing CPR, as Jack's father Robert Waple desperately tried to find a defibrillator, Ms Waple said she knew her son her already died. Paramedics pronounced him dead at his home.
After the inquest into Jack's death, which was held on October 17 and concluded that his death was misadventure through breathing in too much deodorant, his parents have today warned other families of the dangers of aerosol inhalation and said "no one should have to bury their child".
Ms Waple said: "We had aerosols in our house and when I noticed they were going missing I sat him down and said 'Jack what's going on?'.
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"He got really emotional and said 'mum I'm not doing what you think I'm doing', and that he sprays them when I leave the house because he gets anxious and they smell of me. He got really upset and I believed him but I still removed all aerosols from the house.
"On the day it happened I caved in and bought him an aerosol because he said the roll-on deodorants weren't giving him enough protection. But that's what he used, that's what took his life, so now I have that guilt."
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Jack's parents, who are separated but remain close friends, described their son as a kind-hearted, caring and funny young boy. But they were unaware he had frequently been inhaling aerosols.
Unsure of how their son, who attended the Iceni Academy school in Methwold, began and fearing for the lives of other children, Ms and Mr Waple hope to raise more awareness about the potentially fatal consequences.
Mr Waple, from Brandon, said: "We are never going to get over this but we want to make sure that nobody else has to go through what we have been through. No parent should bury their child.
"We want to get this message out there because lots of children do it and get away with it, but Jack was unlucky. You have to be 16 or 18 to buy knives or lighters, but you can go into any shop and buy an aerosol but they are just as dangerous.
"The coroner at the inquest really put our minds at rest and told us Jack knew nothing about it. He fell unconscious and went into cardiac arrest, the blood was just from a nose bleed. It was a comfort to know he didn't suffer but our biggest fear is that somebody else is going to do the same thing."
After Jack's funeral, which took place July 11 at Thetford Methodist Church, and with the inquest finally over, the family have said they want their son to be remembered for all the things he loved.
"He was a very caring young lad, always wanting to help people right from a young age," said Mr Waple.
"Since he has been gone we have heard more and more of these stories, and acts of kindness he did."
Ms Waple said: "He was an animal lover and he loved his cat Tiger who slept on his bed every night. He was brilliant at Fortnite and he was even scouted to play in online tournaments. He was intelligent and he wrote the most beautiful poems, we even read one of the poems he had written at his funeral."
To honour his memory, Jack's family have decided to get a bumblebee tattoo after what they described as a strange encounter following his death.
Mr Waple added: "Now we associate bumblebees with Jack because the day after he died one landed on Susan and sat by her heart and when I was walking into town in Brandon every time I looked down there was a bee on the path next to me.
"Then at the inquest a bumblebee landed on the window. It might be coincidence but we have taken real comfort from it."
Ms Waple said: "He had all of these big plans for the future and now I feel like my heart breaks every time I think about him. I just miss him. He was wonderful, a gift from god. We just hope this doesn't happen to another family."
Parents concerned about solvent abuse have been urged to do their research to help their children make the right choices and stay safe.
If someone believes their child is misusing aerosols or solvents, Talk to Frank, the UK's anti-drug campaign, says to look out for dizziness, slurred speech, loss of coordination, paranoia and anxiety, a chemical smell, changes in appetite, runny nose or eye irritations, complaints of headaches or rashes and pimples around the nose or mouth.
They are also advised to be on the look out for a large amount of used product, such as empty aerosols and tubes of glue.
A child may experience a change in behaviour such as mood swings, bad attitude or behaviour, altered sleep pattern, difficulty getting out of bed, secretive and evasive behaviour or problems in school.
For more information visit www.talktofrank.com/get-help/worried-about-a-child#starting-a-conversation-about-drugs