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Breath Holding Games Can Easily Turn Deadly

Breath Holding Games Can Easily Turn Deadly

Posted - Jun. 17, 2004 at 9:27 p.m.



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Nadine Wimmer Reporting A game you might have played in the pool as a kid is causing concern. Many of us don't realize why "hold your breath" contests are so dangerous.

There's an age old pool game that has turned deadly for two children in recent weeks, contests to see who can hold their breath the longest.

It seems harmless, but when kids take deep breaths before plunging underwater, doctors say they're hyperventilating. The carbon dioxide that normally tells us to breath has been flushed out of their system.

Dr. Mark Koepke, LDS Hospital: “So you’ve eliminated your body’s normal mechanism to tell you you need to take a deep breath. There’s no leeway. As soon as you’re body is out of oxygen, it shuts down.”

Breath Holding Games Can Easily Turn Deadly

So kids never give the apparent distress signs of flailing or trying to surface. It's one more reason to take caution.

Dr. Mark Koepke: “It's absolutely imperative, if you have small kids around any body of water, I don't care if it's a pool you bought at a grocery store, you have to have your eye on them 100-percent of the time."

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