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Foam party risks
  1. Johannes M Mayr,
  2. Erich H Sorantin
  1. Department of Paediatric Surgery and Paediatric Radiology, Austrian Committee for Injury Prevention in Childhood, University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 34, A - 8036 Graz, Austria e-mail: johannes.mayr{at}

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    Editor,—Foam parties are becoming increasingly popular among young people. A male adolescent aged 16 years tried to leave a dance floor covered with several feet of party foam. Because of the slippery foam adhering to his shoes and the floor he fell and hit his head on a metal bar placed at the edge of the dance floor. He got up but he soon became somnolent and retrograde amnesia occurred. Because of the foam nobody could see the circumstances of the fall and he was taken outside to recover. Consequently his transport to an emergency department was delayed.

    At admission a small skin bruise at the occiput was noted. Because of increasing headache and clinical signs of increased intracranial pressure he was referred to our hospital for further treatment the second day after the accident. Computed tomography at admission demonstrated a significant right frontal intracerebral haematoma with perifocal oedema, a small right frontal subdural haemorrhage, and a midline shift to the left (fig 1). He was monitored in the intensive care unit with an epidural intracranial pressure transducer. The initial recovery was uneventful and he was discharged home two weeks after the injury. However, he had lost smell and taste perception and his short term memory remained disturbed at follow up six months later.

    Young people should be made aware that party foam sprayed on a dance floor creates a very slippery surface and the potential for accidents may be imperceptible to others when several feet of foam cover the floor. Foam parties can also cause significant chemical keratoconjunctivitis when the foam containing anionic tensoactives comes into contact with their eyes.1,2

    We therefore recommend that party foam should be used only when there is adequate supervision of the dance floor. The edges of the floor should be rounded and made of impact absorbing material. Party foam must not be sprayed onto the faces of people dancing.

    Figure 1

    Computed tomogram two days after the accident showing right frontal intracerebral haematoma with perifocal edema, small right frontal subdural haemorrhage, and midline shift to the left.


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