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Holding breath underwater can cause deadly blackouts, warn experts.

Parents should ban their children from playing competitive breath holding games underwater because it can cause sudden death, warns a northern beaches swimming coach.

Pat Taylor, a swimming teacher of 50 years, said the dangers of shallow water blackouts, where people faint while underwater due to prolonged and repetitive breath-holding, was being taken seriously within the swimming community.

“It’s something kids have always done. But it’s scary because there have been deaths,” she said.

Mrs Taylor said it was important to educate parents about the dangers in time for the school holidays.

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