Fort Worth, Texas,
16:22 PM

7 online challenges this ER doctor warns could be deadly

The Internet dares your child knows about and so should you

As a parent you may not have heard of condom challenges, but your child has – and it has nothing to do with using them as a contraceptive.

Not a generation has gone by that kids weren’t daring each other to do something dangerous, not to mention really dumb, leaving parents to ask, “What were you thinking?!”

Although the below challenges may not all seem as if they would be dangerous, or even deadly, they are. Emergency Department Medical Director, Corwin Warmink, M.D., warns health implications if your child accepts one of these dares, including suffocation, seizures, fractures as well as death.

So, what are the children being challenged to do these days and what are the possible health implications?


1. Cinnamon Challenge

  • This challenge has been around for a while now, but it seems to still have popularity among kids. The cinnamon challenge consists of children seeing if they can swallow a spoon full of cinnamon.
  • Watch the Cinnamon Challenge.
  • Health concerns from Dr. Warmink: Choking, aspiration into the lungs with resultant lung damage and even asphyxiation (suffocation) and death.

2. Pass out/Knock out Challenge

  • There have always been passing out challenges that spread around. So this is just a reinvention of the wheel. There are a couple of different variations that are making their course, but this seems to be the most popular. This is a two person challenge and consists of one child leaning against a wall, taking a few deep breaths and then holding it. The other child then pushes against the child’s chest until they pass out.
  • Watch the Knockout Challenge
  • Health concerns from Dr. Warmink: Lack of oxygen to the brain causing seizures, brain damage and death.

3. The Water Condom Challenge

  • You may have seen this one on your Facebook newsfeed recently. Condoms are being filled with water and dropped on the head of the unfortunate chosen one. Some go as far as popping the condom so that it may be a single layer entrapping the face.
  • Watch the Water Condom ChallengeWarning: This video contains some profanity.
  • Health concerns from Dr. Warmink: It is gross. Aspiration of the water with lung damage, asphyxiation (suffocation) from the condom and death.

4. The Double Condom Challenge

  • Yet another contraceptive challenge. In this challenge the object is to snort two condoms up the nose until they come out in the back of the throat and then pull them both out of the mouth.
  • Watch the Double Condom Challenge.
  • Health concerns from Dr. Warmink: Choking and airway obstruction leading to lack of oxygen, brain damage and death.

5. Salt and Ice Challenge

  • This is another challenge that has been around for quite a while. It still seems to amuse people though, because its outcome never disappoints, which is to burn skin. After sprinkling salt to the skin, ice is then applied and the reaction causes a burn. This is why salt is applied to iced roads in the winter … to melt the ice.
  • Watch the Salt and Ice Challenge
  • Health concerns from Dr. Warmink: Severe burns with resultant scarring and death.

6. Exercise Ball Collision Challenge

  • This challenge can be done in two ways. 1) Two people run at each other while both holding exercise balls. When they connect both will fall backwards. 2) One person holds an exercise ball and runs towards another person staying stationary. This way only propels the one person standing still.
  • Watch the Exercise Ball Collision Challenge
  • Health concerns from Dr. Warmink: Concussion, extremity fractures, skull fractures, intracranial bleeding and death.

7. Watermelon Head Smash Challenge

  • The title explains it all. Although, this challenge can be done with an accomplice or not. Some kids choose to bang their heads into the watermelon while others choose to have a friend smash it into their heads.
  • Watch the Watermelon Head Smash Challenge.
  • Health concerns from Dr. Warmink: Concussion, skull fractures, intracranial bleeding and death.

When hearing about children being hurt by doing something that seems unthinkable to us, we all wonder, “Why do kids accept these dangerous challenges?”

“Some of it is related to lack of awareness or acknowledgement those activities could really hurt you or have long term effects, as well as thinking they are invincible and free from harm in general,” says Joy Crabtree, a child Psychologist at Cook Children’s. “Lack of impulse control likely contributes as well in addition to peer pressure and wanting to stand out/get acknowledgement for doing something risky. The frontal lobe/executive function portion of the brain is certainly still developing which affects their behavior as well.”

Comments 1 - 2 (2)
Thank you for your message. It will be posted after approval.
Dawn Padot
Just lost a 14 yearl old boy who tried the tide pod and hanging challange and he died. Something has to be done.
Kathy Lanier
Thank you so much for giving parents this information! I will be talking with my child about this very soon!