ice cubeThey call it the salt and ice challenge. This addition to the "what will teens come up with next" files might better be named "stupid, dangerous, and a sign we need to improve our science curriculum in this country." You know what happens when salt and ice combine in real life?

That's right, a reaction very similar to a chemical reaction. And when that reaction between the cold and the salt is happening on the bare skin of a teenager, you get something like the horrific burns that will make the summer miserable for one young salt and ice "challenger" who landed in the West Penn Burn Center last week because he took his friends' dare.

Oh, yeah ... he got off easy.

Doctors are warning parents that the challenge -- where salt is poured across a teenager's skin, and ice is added -- has resulted in third degree burns on some kids. Those are generally the most severe type of burns, the kind that can require skin grafts to treat.

All this because kids want to prove they're so bad--s that they can withstand the chemical reaction of salt melting ice for as long as possible? Ahem. So. Not. Worth. It.

So why should parents be concerned about the salt and ice challenge when there are all those other freaky games they could be freaking about? Simple: it's summer. That means ice is abundant. And so is bare skin.

The temptation is at an all-time high, and YouTube is full of videos to teach them how to do it. So, a few words to the wise: if you notice the kids hitting the freezer and snagging the salt shaker, you might want to step in for a little science instruction.

Have your kids tried the salt and ice challenge?

 

Image via stevendepolo/Flickr