12-Year-Old Dies From Drinking Too Much Water

waterThe game likely seemed innocuous enough -- water poker. There were no drugs or alcohol involved, nor any naughty strip poker shenanigans. It was just a group of kids playing cards, in which the loser of each hand had to drink a glass of water. Tragically, however, that innocent- sounding game came to a deadly end for a 12-year-old girl.

It happened recently in Finland at a boarding school. According to the UPI, the well-liked girl was playing the game with friends, and she must have lost quite a few hands, as she drank more than six quarts of water in all. Then just hours later she was found ill, vomiting, and taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced brain dead. She died three days later. The cause: Water intoxication.

It's absolutely tragic that such a game could kill a young girl. Those kids probably had no idea it could have such deadly consequences. Before I read this story, if my son asked me if he could play a game with such rules, I'd have told him sure and would have counted my blessings that he was into such innocent fun. Unfortunately, this game is anything but innocent.

This was an extreme case, but it has happened before. A few years back a California woman died from water intoxication after participating in a radio station's contest to see how much water contestants could drink without going to the bathroom -- "Hold Your Wee for a Wii".

According to Scientific America, ingesting too much water leads to an insufficient amount of salt in one's blood. When salt levels get too low, the kidneys can't function correctly, and it can lead to swelling of the brain. Symptoms include things like headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and mental disorientation. It's incredible that water -- something we typically think of being such a healthy thing to ingest -- can do such damage.

While tragic, this certainly doesn't' mean we need to start putting a lock on our water faucets or grilling our kids about how much water they're drinking. But I guess like anything else, it's good to be aware of the dangers out there. And, of course, it's yet another reminder to teach our kids that moderation in most everything we do is usually prudent.

Would you have ever thought to fear an overdose of water?


Image via Greg Riegeler Photography/Flickr

tweens, in the news, safety


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Alma313 Alma313

Yep. I learned about water intoxication a few years ago. Too much of anything has serious consequences.

nonmember avatar Chelsea

Wow I remember playing this when I was really young and my cousin got really sick but we had no idea it was actually dangerous

linzemae linzemae

This happened about five years ago when someone was doing a radio contest

nonmember avatar American Expat

Yep. What usually happens is sodium density falls below the threshold needed for nervous conduction and autonomic functions stops. Also possible are the kidneys get overworked and fail.

Jespren Jespren

I've actually consumed enough water that I started to get sick and vomit from it. Wasn't playing a weird game or attempting a trick, just over did it in the water department while chasing around kids on a hot day. It seems strange that you could actually die from it to me because the few times I've gotten 'water sick' from drinking too much (inevitably when I'm already low on salt) I have felt very ill and my body has told me in no uncertain terms 'don't you dare take another sip!'

Mamaceda Mamaceda

This happened to a baby bc the mom was mixing the formula really weak to save money and the baby almost died from water intoxication.

the4m... the4mutts

Yah the radio station was kelly 95.3 in Bakersfield. I listened to the entire thing. Nurses and doctors both called the station to warn them of the dangers. Nobody listened, and all 3 hosts were subsequently fired, and, i believe, charged with gross negligence.

the4m... the4mutts

Let me rephrase, a similar radio station stunt was performed by:

And insert the rest of my comment here.

Trans Trans

I didn't know that drinking too much water can even be fatal, although I know about its side effects. I believe every kid must be aware of this fact, so that they do not commit this mistake while playing, as something done in pure frolic can result in serious trouble.

DebaLa DebaLa

The water part, to me, is the symtom of a bigger problem: peer pressure.
As a parent of a teen, these games and challenges are more prevalent and deadly.
Astonishing too that so-called adults engage in these stunts, subject to similar peer pressure.
What part of "When in doubt, "say No, or only in moderation" is unclear? 


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