Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size
A
A
A

CDC Warns of Choking-Game Deaths

Choking Game Killed at Least 82 Youths From 1995 to 2007
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 14, 2008 -- The CDC today warned parents, teachers, and health care providers about the so-called choking game, which has killed at least 82 U.S. youths since 1995.

"The choking game involves intentionally trying to choke oneself or someone else with one's hand or a noose to attain a brief euphoric state or high. If the strangulation is prolonged, which is something that can happen very quickly, death or a serious injury can result," explains Robin Toblin, PhD, MPH, of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The CDC found 82 media reports of choking-game deaths in the U.S. from 1995 to 2007. The kids who died were 13 years old, on average, and 87% were boys. Nearly all of their parents weren't aware of the choking game before their child died.

Warning Signs of the Choking Game

The CDC urges parents, teachers, and health care workers to learn the possible warning signs of the choking game:

  • Discussion of the game, including other names for it, such as "pass-out game" or "space monkey"
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Marks on the neck
  • Severe headaches
  • Disorientation after spending time alone
  • Ropes, scarves, and belts tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor
  • The unexplained presence of dog leashes, choke collars, and bungee cords.

"If parents believe their child is playing the choking game, they should speak to them about the life-threatening dangers associated with the game and seek additional help if necessary," Toblin said at a news conference.

Rise in Choking Game Deaths

"Three or fewer choking game-related deaths per year were reported in the news media from 1995-2004," says Toblin. "However, there was a jump to 22 reports of deaths in 2005 and 30 reports in 2006. In 2007 there was a sharp decrease, with nine deaths occurring in the first 10 months."

It's not clear if choking game deaths are down or if they're getting less media coverage.

The choking game isn't new. "What is new now is that children are playing alone and that they're using ligatures [nooses]," says Toblin.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow