The infamous and deadly Blackout Challenge has already claimed the lives of at least two children in 2021. Now, the viral TikTok trend has caused the death of another child, 13-year-old Nate Squires of Amherst, Massachusetts.
A GoFundMe set up by Squires’ family — which has since closed after reaching its $25,000 goal — indicated that they found the boy unresponsive after attempting the controversial challenge.
“[Squires’ parents] want the world to know of the circumstances that surround Nate’s death to ensure that this does not happen to another family,” a sister-in-law of the parents, Samantha Thomas, wrote on the fundraiser page. “On June 12, Nate was found unresponsive at home after attempting to do what is known on social media platforms as the ‘blackout challenge.'”
According to Thomas, Squires was taken to a local hospital, where he died on Monday, June 14.
Previous Deadly Incidents
Squires’ death follows previous child fatalities associated with the blackout challenge. In January, 10-year-old Antonella Sicomero (pictured below) asphyxiated to death with a belt while reportedly trying the challenge. Then in March, 12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus did the same with a shoelace.
“All over the world families are losing children to this,” Thomas said. “We ask that if you cannot donate, please reach out to a child in your life and talk to them about the blackout challenge.”
A School District Offers Support
Following Squires’ passing, and with his family’s permission, the local school district has reached out in support of community members dealing with the tragic loss. Superintendent Michael Morris first sent an email informing families of the incident on Monday before speaking at a joint school committee meeting later that night.
“It’s a tragic situation,” Morris said. “It was a significant event in the community.”
The district reportedly sent resources home that families could use to help their children understand the situation. Additionally, Morris scheduled an event Thursday at a local trauma center that will offer in-person and virtual support.
“We would like to offer a virtual space for families to talk about grief and how to support their children, as well as about what resources are available through the school and other organizations,” Morris said in an email to parents.
Meanwhile, Thomas said the “entire family feels like the rug has been ripped out from under us,” but urged others to talk to children about dangerous viral challenges.
“Tell them to reach out to an adult if they hear about someone they know attempting it,” Thomas said. “We hope Nate’s story can help you start this conversation in your home.”