Internet challenges come and go. One day it’s the Ice Bucket Challenge; the next, it’s seeing how much cinnamon you can put in your mouth. Sometimes, challenges can go from fun and silly to dangerous or even deadly.
There’s a challenge making the rounds right now that has the potential to do a lot of damage, so parents, you’re going to want to watch out for this one.
Since 2012, teens and other YouTube users have done the “Salt and Ice Challenge.” Kids rub salt and ice on their skin to see how long they can feel the burn. Then, naturally, they post their reactions.
It sounds simple, but the damage it can do to the body is serious. Salt and ice create a chemical reaction, which lowers the temperature of ice to 1.4° Fahrenheit (this is why adding salt to water and ice will help you cool a soda can in two minutes). The resulting burns are similar to frostbite, but could be even worse. Some have reported second- and third-degree burns from this challenge.
After multiple children were sent to the hospital in England in recent weeks, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) issued a formal warning to all parents.
“It’s important for schools keep a close eye on all emerging trends and we welcome the police’s warning to head teachers,” a NSPCC spokesperson told The Daily Mail. “The rise of social media has contributed to increasing peer pressure amongst children and this ‘craze’ is another clear example of the risks.”
How To Protect Your Kids
Huffington Post UK has offered some tips to parents to help their children avoid participating in this dangerous challenge. Parents should encourage their children to do the following:
- Confidently say no to participating.
- Don’t judge others who do participate.
- Focus on spending time with friends who don’t do the challenge.
- Offer alternative suggestions when asked to do the challenge.
And if you find your child burned by the Salt and Ice Challenge, here’s what you should do, according to a spokesperson from the St. John Ambulance based in the UK:
- Treat immediately by running cool water over the affected area for at least 10 minutes or until the pain lessens.
- Refrain from applying ice, gels or creams—they can further damage tissues and make the affected area more susceptible to infection.
- After the burn has cooled, cover it with plastic kitchen wrap.
- For burns on the face, hands, feet, or larger than the size of the person’s hand, get medical attention.