Thailan Cash was a fun-loving, happy child, according to his parents --- but one dangerous game may be the one that killed him.
He was found Saturday with a curtain wrapped tightly around his neck and his parents blame “the choking game.”
Enzy Curtis and Yolanda Cash both say that they warned their son about the potentially fatal game, but he didn’t listen to them. "I told him 'honey that's dangerous. You shouldn't do that," Cash says. The rules of the game involve cutting off the oxygen supply to the brain in order to induce a high. Though he may have been irresponsible, Thailan’s parents say that he was not suicidal.
"It wasn't a suicide, 'cause he was just too happy and he had no reason to commit suicide," said Curtis to local Milwaukee station TMJ4. "I think it was just a game he was playing and it got out of hand.”
Thailan’s older brother found him in the upstairs living room, and that’s when his mother attempted to untangle him from the curtain. "I tried pulling it from around his neck. But, it was just, I couldn't pull it. I just yanked the whole curtain down," Cash says.
Marriage and family therapist, Colleen Perry, told the Huffington Post that the “choking game” has been around for “decades.”
“This is NOT a new fad,” said Perry. This behavior has been around for decades, but now it has come into popularity. It gives the "good kids" a chance to get "high" without the risks of getting caught with alcohol or drugs. The average age of kids doing the choking game is 9 -16 years old, and 250- 1,000 kids die in the U.S. and Canada each year from it. It's difficult to get accurate numbers to assess its lethality since many are ruled as suicides.”
G.A.S.P. (Games Adolescents Shouldn't Play) a non-profit organization, empowers parents with warning signs that their children are choking for fun:
- Any suspicious mark on the side of the neck, sometimes hidden by a turtleneck, scarf or permanently turned-up collar.
- Changes in personality, such as overtly aggressive or agitated.
- Any kind of strap, rope or belt lying around near the child for no clear reason—and attempts to elude questions about such objects.
- Headaches (sometimes excruciatingly bad ones), loss of concentration, flushed face.
- Bloodshot eyes or any other noticeable signs of eye stress.
- A thud in the bedroom or against a wall -- meaning a fall in cases of solitary practice.
- Any questions about the effects, sensations or dangers of strangulation.
Rest in peace, Thailan.