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					Segment 900 for Family Album
Topic: Increasing deaths from “choking game”
Written by: Donna Davis
Reviewed by: Suzanna Smith
Date written: February 20, 2008

       Welcome to another page in the Family Album and the snapshots of our changing

families. I’m Donna Davis.

       Children have always been known to do some crazy things. Recall the game of

Russian Roulette? Unfortunately, there’s a new game in town that’s equally terrifying

and growing in popularity. It’s called the “Choking Game,” although it’s also known as

the “blackout game,” “pass-out game,” “scarf game,” “space monkey,” and others.

       According to a recent report from the CDC, the choking game “is defined as self-

strangulation or strangulation by another person with the hands or a noose to achieve a

brief euphoric state” (p. 141) that’s caused when the brain does not get adequate oxygen.

The CDC analyzed 12 years of news reports of deaths caused by the choking game and

found 82 probable deaths among children between the ages of 6 and 19. The average

child was 13-years-old. The CDC points to the need to make parents, educators and

health-care providers aware of the warning signs that youth are playing this game.

       According to the CDC report, adults should look for the following signs:

“mention of the choking game; bloodshot eyes; marks on the neck; frequent, severe

headaches; disorientation after spending time alone; and ropes, scarves, and belts tied to

bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor” (p. 143).     They also

recommend that more research needs to be done to determine youth awareness and

involvement of this deadly game and to determine prevalence, risk factors, and protective

factors that can help reduce or eliminate future tragedy.
        Listening, learning and living together, it’s the science of life. “Family Album” is

a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family,

Youth and Community Sciences and of WUFT-FM. If you’d like to learn more, please

visit our website at


CDC, MMWR Weekly. February 15, 2008. Vol. 57 (06); 141-144. Retrieved on February
      28, 2008 online from

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