A horrifying new ‘challenge’ is taking over the internet, causing serious harm – and in rare cases, even death.
The ‘hot water challenge’ is exactly as terrifying as it sounds. Children as young as 10 are taking extreme risks with boiling water and causing grievous injuries to themselves and their friends, by either pouring on each other, or daring each other to swallow it.
The ‘challenge’, like many of its predecessors, originated online, and some reports date it as far back as 2015. However in Summer 2017 it seems to have gained worrying momentum, with the most extreme report being an eight-year-old girl who died months after drinking boiling water through a straw as a dare by her friends.
She was treated in a hospital in Florida after the incident, undergoing a tracheotomy, an incision in her windpipe, but suffered ongoing respiratory problems and passed away shortly afterwards.
A teenage girl from New York has also been hospitalised with severe burns to the face and body after her ‘friend’ poured scalding hot water over her whilst she slept at a sleepover. At the time, her mother said her wounds are so severe that doctors haven’t allowed her to look in the mirror.
The Burn Foundation states scalds as the number one burn injury to children under the age of four, and states on the website: ‘When tap water reaches [60 degrees Celsius], it can cause a third degree (full thickness) burn in just five seconds.’
Viral challenges like the hot water challenge continue to become more and more dangerous. Earlier this tear reports highlighted the ‘eraser challenge‘, where kids rub pencil erasers back and forth over their skin to create a burn.
The ‘salt and ice challenge‘ also took hold in January, resulting in chemical burns similar to frostbite and leading to hospital stays for many children.
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At the time, the NSPCC stressed that it was important to educate for parents children of the very real consequences of these challenges, and for schools to keep a very close eye on their students.
‘It’s important for schools keep a close eye on all emerging trends,’ they said in a statement back in January regarding the salt and ice challenge. ‘The rise of social media has contributed to increasing peer pressure amongst children and this ‘craze’ is another clear example of the risks.’