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Kids Are Trying Something Called the ‘Hot Water Challenge.’ At Least 1 Has Died

2 minute read

A new and dangerous trend has led children nationwide to suffer serious burns and, in at least one case, death.

The “Hot Water Challenge,” which kids say was inspired by YouTube videos, involves pouring boiling water on an unsuspecting friend — or, in one fatal instance, daring a friend to drink boiling water through a straw.

On Monday, an 11-year-old Jamoneisha Merritt of the Bronx was badly burned when friends poured boiling water on her face while she slept. In July, a 10-year-old Wesley Smith of North Carolina suffered severe burns after he and his step-brother attempted the challenge. And in late July, an 8-year-old Ki’ari Pope of Florida died several months after her cousin dared her to drink boiling water through a straw. Pope burned her mouth and throat, received a tracheotomy, and suffered enduring respiratory problems. The night she died, she told her family she couldn’t breathe, and fell unconscious shortly thereafter.

The parents of these victims are now urging other mothers, fathers and caretakers to warn their kids against the dangers of trying to replicate Internet challenge videos. “Parents, talk to your kids about these challenges,” Pope’s aunt Diane Johnson told a local CBS affiliate. “Don’t just give them your phone and let them go by. Watch what they are doing.”

“Watch what your kids are doing on the Internet,” Smith’s step-father Jimmy Daugherty told another CBS affiliate. “When we got to the hospital and I actually seen it, I thought the poor boy had been through a war.”

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