Videos documenting the so-called "pass-out game” have been making the rounds on YouTube and Facebook for several months.
They demonstrate how to hyperventilate or asphyxiate yourself -- or someone else -- to achieve a euphoric high.
The videos might not be anything new -- they also pop up as “blackout,” “space monkey,” “flatliner” or “suffocation roulette” -- but over the last few months, they seem to be gaining more popularity.
And as more and more kids are gambling and cheating death, parents are expressing concern.
“These children don’t know what they’re doing, and you have those children who are disconnected from their parents and adult figures, so they’re really adapting to social media,” said parent Tyrica Moore. “And they think that is fun, and it's a game and other children are trying it.”
In the pass-out game, children are depriving themselves of oxygen until they lose consciousness and either fall into their friends' arms or fall to the floor, which can produce a woozy, sometimes euphoric high.
But that high comes with dangerous health risks, according to Dr. Matthew Locklair, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Wolfson Children’s ER at Baptist Clay
“You can actually affect their heart primarily,” Locklair said. “If you hit it at the right time or during a different part of the cardiac cycle, you can actually stop the heart altogether and go into cardiac arrest.”
In some of the videos, people are pushing on the children's chest, which can cause other problems. It can stimulate the vagal nerve, which can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to drop and decrease the oxygen in your brain even more.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 82 people under the age of 18 died after experimenting with the pass-out game from 1995-2007.
“You can hit something,” Locklair said. “You can hit your head and cause a brain bleed. I’ve heard of the unfortunate case of someone being cut and actually bleeding to death. So all of these things… it’s fun to look on YouTube... it’s fun to play around with your friends... but there are real consequences to this.
“There’s a real chance that goofing around with your friends can kill you or harm you for a long period of time.”
It's those consequences that have child advocates pushing parents to start a dialogue with their children.
“I’ve pretty much educated the children that I know of,” Moore said. “I’ve contacted as many parents as I could, family and friends to let them know… sit down, take a moment talk to your child about this game.”
Locklair said the kids on the YouTube clips are extremely lucky. He said many children could have underlying health issues that could be made worse by this game.
Ultimately, he said it’s just not worth it.