Teens always seem to find the most bizarre challenges to post on social media. Unfortunately, some of these viral calls for attention can be dangerous and even life-threatening. The latest trend has parents and medical professionals extremely worried. The ‘fire challenge’ consists of dousing yourself with lighter fluid and igniting yourself in flames. Then, while a friend videotapes, the person must jump in a pool or water to extinguish the blaze. While the person is only on fire for a short time, doctors warn that serious injuries could still occur. Teens, ranging in age to 13 to 18, have ended up in emergency rooms around the country after attempting the ‘fire challenge.’
These teens may be persuaded to participate because of other videos they have seen of the challenge floating around social media. However, one Dallas burn unit nurse explains that what you don’t see on the video is the most dangerous part.
“But what you don’t see when the video stops rolling is the burn injuries they can and do sustain,” says Stephanie Campbell, an RN in Parkland’s burn center. “Typically its to their torso, or neck, or face area.”
The ‘fire challenge’ first became popular last year. It eventually disappeared, but has recently been re-trending. Campbell says this viral act should be seen as a life-threatening stunt.
“Teens and young adults seem to like the attention they get from it, the likes and the shares,” says Campbell. “It’s alarming to us. Burn injuries are injuries for a lifetime.”
Experts recommend that parents talk with their teens before they wind up participating in this dangerous challenges. Doctors are also hoping that teens will avoid sharing and liking this type of content, in hopes that the trend will disappear again.