Experts urge parents to be on the lookout for 'choking game'

Experts urge parents to be on the lookout for 'choking game'

PORTLAND, Ore. - A new state health survey shows that by the time children hit high school, 6 percent of Oregon kids have tried the "choking game" and many more know someone who's done it.

Examples of the dangerous game can be found on YouTube. The videos show kids cutting off the blood flow to the brain by choking each other. They do it for a short feeling of being high. But the game comes with huge risks and can even be deadly.

"We're trying to make parents aware and kids aware that this is happening," said Dr. Katrina Hedberg with the Oregon Health Department. She helped with a study on the "choking game" in 2008 and 2009.

Around 10,000 eighth-graders took part in the study. About 30 percent had heard of the game, more than 20 percent had heard of someone who had tried it and 6 percent had done it themselves. Many of those had done it five or more times.

"We're particularly concerned about those kids, because the more times they may be playing this game or participating, the more likely it is that they have a bad outcome," Hedberg said.

She wants parents to know that the countless videos on YouTube only make it easier for the "choking game" to catch on. She said it won't be known how widespread the dangerous trend is around the United States until other states start asking the same questions.

The "choking game" is also called the "pass-out" game, "fainting" game, "blackout," "knockout" and "flat-line" game.

There are signs your child may be trying it. Experts suggest looking for marks on a teen's neck, bloodshot eyes or pinpoint bleeding spots under the skin of the face.