There are loads of "teen trends" that parents try to take with a grain of salt. You know, like when planking took over the Internet. But this new teen trend is absolutely no joke. Apparently homemade blowguns are sending teens to the hospital with the needle-tipped darts down their windpipes. According to researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, three 14- and 15-year-olds have come in within the past three months with needles stuck down their throats.
The big question? Understandably, "how do the needles end up there?" Well after following instructions from the dozens of websites that describe how to make the dangerous guns from everyday household objects like shoelaces and sewing needles, the users take a deep breath to shoot the gun and accidentally suck the dart into their throats.
I know. You may be thinking to yourself: "What's the big deal? It's only three cases!" But ponder it this way: these are just the ones who showed up to do something about it. God only knows what's happening to the blowgun users who haven't reported the mishap.
As a parent, it's scary. Naturally teenagers are given more freedom and you can't be watching them every second of every day, nor are you expected to. It's important that your child knows in dangerous scenarios like this that telling the truth is not just expected, but necessary. Lying about what movie they caught with their friends last Friday -- that's one thing. But accidentally ingesting a needle (or any other repercussion from a stunt such as this) is NOTHING to take lightly. Especially in these cases, the needle could seriously damage the esophagus or other tissues.
Mistakes happen. At the end of the day, health will always be the most important factor. When health is at risk, whatever your teen did "wrong" takes a back seat. It's the responsibility of the parents to open that door for communication and let them know that.
How would you react if this happened to your child?
Image via pasukaru76/Flickr