For a long time, fads have been part of our culture. New fads come and go, and many of them are harmless—but some can set a dangerous precedent that leads to risk for your teen, especially if “everybody’s doing it.”
It’s important for today’s parents to be aware of the latest fads that might pose a danger to your child, particularly in the age of social media where the hot new thing is quick to spread. Here are some of the most recent dangerous teen fads you should know about.
This viral fad format has involved several different variations. The most well-known is probably the “cinnamon challenge” that started in 2001, jumped in popularity around 2007, and has been hanging around since. It involves swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds, without water or any other liquid—dangerous because cinnamon is caustic, and swallowing it alone can cause choking, breathing problems, or lung collapse, especially in people with asthma.
Similar challenges continue to pop up on YouTube, including:
- The saltine cracker challenge: Eat at least 6 saltine crackers in 60 seconds
- The gallon challenge: Drink a full gallon of whole milk in 60 seconds without vomiting
- The Banana Sprite challenge: Quickly eat 2 bananas and drink one liter of Sprite without vomiting
Perhaps the most dangerous challenge that’s still going around is the “Salt & Ice Challenge.” This involves putting salt on the skin, applying ice, and leaving it there for as long as you can stand the burning pain. The practice also causes skin discoloration, frostbite-like symptoms, and even second- or third-degree burns.
This fad doesn’t sound awful compared to some, but it can cause real damage. Beezin’ involves a particular product—Burt’s Bees lip balm, which contains beeswax and peppermint, and actually works great for its intended use.
However, some teens are smearing the balm on their eyelids, because the peppermint simulates the feeling of being drunk or high. This can cause pinkeye or even blindness, and might also transmit the herpes virus if the lip balm has been used by someone infected with herpes prior to placing it on the eyes.
Drinking hand sanitizer
It’s rightfully hard for teens to get their hands on alcohol, and there have been several fads over the years where teenagers use over-the-counter products to get a buzz. Cough syrup was a popular choice for a while, as were cold medicine pills containing dextromethorphan, or DXM.
Recently, some teens have turned to hand sanitizer—in which the main ingredient is alcohol. Last year in California, at least six teens wound up in the ER with alcohol poisoning after drinking massive quantities of the stuff.