Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Hot Water Challenge

August 23, 2017

I was once again horrified to learn about the newest dangerous trend, the Hot Water Challenge, in which kids dare each other to pour boiling water on an unsuspecting child. At least one child so far as died after drinking boiling water through a straw, and others have sustained severe burns. Although this trend seems to have originated several years ago, it is becoming popular now as children are acting out on the dare after watching viral YouTube videos. Unlike other trends we have blogged about previously, in which victims were typically adolescents, victims of this trend seem to skew younger. The child who died was only 8 years old. Younger kids might find this dare "cool" or "fun", but may not understand that pouring boiling hot water on someone causes serious irreparable damage and even possibly death.

According to the Burn Foundation, hot water can cause third degree (full thickness) burns:

  • in 5 seconds at 140 degrees F
  • in 2 seconds at 149 degrees F
  • in 1 second at 156 degrees F

Boiling water, at 212 degrees F, would almost certainly cause significant and widespread third degree burns.

For more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics on first aid for burns, click here.




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