Boy Died Playing 'Pass-Out Game'

A 10-year-old boy was found dead, hanging from a tree, apparently killed while trying to get high by playing the "pass-out game," authorities said.

Dalton Eby may be the second Idaho child killed in recent months while playing a choking game, trying to cut off the oxygen supply to the brain to achieve a type of "high."

Dalton's mother reported him missing last Thursday when he failed to return home after visiting a friend. Search and rescue crews found his body Friday, in a tree near his Island Park home, the Fremont County sheriff's office said in a statement.

There was nothing at the scene suggesting that anyone else was involved, the sheriff's office said.

"During the course of the investigation it was learned that there is a game that is common knowledge to many of our youth. A game known as the 'pass-out game,' the 'fainting game,' the 'tingling game,' or the 'something dreaming game' — to name a few," the statement added.

Dalton's parents had never heard of the game, and neither had the parents of his friends, the sheriff's office said.

That was also the case three months ago in the Idaho town of Nampa, where 13-year-old Chelsea Dunn was found dead after apparently hanging herself in her closet.

An investigation was inconclusive, but Dunn's family believes she died accidentally while playing the game, which was popular with a group of girls at her school. Six girls at the school were suspended for a day after a security camera videotape showed the seventh-graders choking each other in a hallway.

Though the so-called game is new to many adults, it's likely something that children have been doing for a long time, said Connecticut-based child psychologist Dr. Lawrence Shapiro, author of "The Secret Language of Children: How to Understand What Your Kids are Really Saying."

"That's scary," Shapiro said.

In addition to talking to kids about drugs and alcohol, parents should discuss other risky behavior, like the pass-out game, Shapiro said.

"Younger kids don't know that they can die from this, that it's a very dangerous activity," Shapiro said.

Nathan Hoiosen, a school resource officer with the Nampa Police Department, said youngsters think the choking game offers a safe buzz compared to drinking or doing drugs.

"You wish you could just take the kids and shake them and say, 'What are you thinking?"' Hoiosen said.
  • Jill Preschel

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