Yesterday afternoon when my son got into the car, he was asking his sister if she ever put salt on ice. I didn’t realize that he was talking about putting the salt and ice combination on his skin. I just assumed that his science teacher was teaching them about temperature changes using salt and ice. Then this afternoon, I noticed a huge red spot on his arm so I asked him about the spot on his arm. After I carefully examined his arm, I noticed that it looked like a burn.
My son told me that he was participating in the salt and ice challenge. He was put a combination of salt/ice combination on his arm and foot. Ouch! Just the thought of doing this, makes me cringe.
He told me that him and his friends at school were having a contest to see who could keep the ice on their skin longest. What my son doesn’t know is that when ice and salt are mixed together it causes a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction drops the temperature of the ice and it can potentially cause serious burns or long term damage to the skin.
In fact, water typically freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When you add a mixture of salt to ice, it causes the temperature to drop dramatically to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperaures that low can cause burns and frostbite.
I haven’t ever heard of this challenge until my son told me about it today but according to CBS News, this isn’t a new trick and children started doing it a few years ago. The kids are applying a small amount of water to their skin, just enough to wet the skin so that the salt will stick. Then they are adding a small layer of table salt to the wet skin. Next, they put the ice cube on their skin. When the salt and ice combine, it creates a chemical reaction. The kids are leaving the ice cube on their skin until it stings so much that they have no choice but to remove the ice. The longer they leave the ice in place, the more likely they will get blisters, second degree burns, or frostbite.
Here is a photo of my son’s arm:
This afternoon the spot on his arm looked red and I will continue to monitor it for possible blisters. I immediately let one on of the faculty members at the school know what was going on to prevent kids from continuing with this dangerous game. I also felt that this was something that I needed to share on my blog so that other parents could be aware of this dangerous contest or challenge.
Please talk to your children about this potential challenge so that they are aware of the dangerous consequences.
Have you ever heard of “The Salt and Ice Challenge”?