INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — An Indianapolis family is raising a red flag about the so-called “Hot Water Challenge” after the dangerous prank resulted in a 15-year-old being severely burned.
The so-called challenge, which made national headlines last year and has been circulating online since at least 2014, consists of someone either drinking boiling water through a straw, or having the water poured on them.
Last week, Kyland Clark said he and a friend were looking up the challenge on YouTube when they decided to prank each other. While Clark was sleeping, he said a friend poured water on him as a joke.
“And then I looked down at my chest. My skin just fell off my chest, and then I looked in the mirror and I had skin falling off here and, on my face,” he told WXIN.
The prank resulted in Clark suffering second-degree burns on his back, chest and face. He had to stay in the hospital for a week while undergoing treatment.
“To see my baby, all burned up like that, it was heart breaking,” his mother said.
Doctors with IU Health said they’re starting to see more victims of these so-called internet challenges land people in the emergency room.
“It’s suggesting to people that they can try it and they won’t be hurt, but they will be, I can guarantee it,” Dr. Ed Bartkus said.
Bartkus said it’s possible that people who do the challenge could end up with permanent disfigurement due to burns on the body or burns to the airway that could result in death.
“If your friends are telling you to do this, they aren’t good friends,” he said.
Last year, an 8-year-old girl died in Florida after she drank boiling water through a straw on a dare.
A week later, an 11-year-old girl in the Bronx suffered second-degree burns to her face, shoulders, neck and chest when another girl poured scalding-hot water on her during a sleepover. She was hospitalized for more than a week.
Now Clark and his mother said they want to make it known how dangerous the challenge is.
“There’s a limit to what you should do in a challenge and what you shouldn’t. Don’t take it overboard,” Clark said.
Clark is expected to heal from his injuries, and doctors said his pigment should return in a few months. He starts school next week but his mother said for now, the plan is for him to stay at home and focus on healing.