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Monday, March 13, 2017
The internet is full of fads, and lately, the trend of “challenges” has taken social media and video sharing services by storm. The latest challenge is known as the “Salt and Ice” challenge. It is an incredibly dangerous challenge that people should avoid, because it is almost guaranteed to lead to injury, and possibly even liability.
Initially, there was the ALS ice-bucket challenge. In this challenge, people had ice water dumped on top of them while being videotaped. In this instance, there was a minor risk for injury, but most people were able to engage in the challenge, have fun, and avoid trauma.
The salt and ice challenge is not the same. Parents should be notified as to what this challenge entails, because a vast majority of the participants are minors. Also, parents should educate their children about the safety and associated dangers of these challenges. Most of the challenges are advertised as “safe,” and they appear innocent, but in fact they could cause life-threatening injuries.
With the salt and ice challenge, a person must put an ice cube on top of salt on their skin.
Seems harmless, right?
In reality, there is a hidden danger that can lead to serious injury.
Salt forces the temperature of the ice to drop lower than it does already. All it takes is a short amount of exposure to cause frostbite and permanently damage a person’s skin. It takes five to 10 minutes before the temperatures do damage, but this activity can lead to permanent injury.
Already, several children have been treated for this very injury. Some have had third-degree burns. Their skin loses blood vessels underneath, the children no longer have sensation in the burn area, and the nerve endings are permanently damaged. Also, hair growth stops on that portion of the arm.
There has been one instance already where a 12-year-old boy suffered a gruesome injury after doing the challenge. The boy suffered second-degree cold injuries to his back that required him to receive emergency treatment from the West Penn Burn Center.
The young boy was on his stomach when his brother and friend put salt and ice in the form of a cross on his back. Then, they applied pressure, which caused immediate pain. The challenge is to see how long a person can last through the pain.
Doctors who treated the boy held a press conference warning the public about similar behavior. Doctor Ariel Aballay stated that those doing the challenge could experience first-degree cold injuries immediately, and these may take days to heal.
The youth injured in this particular accident had severe blistering that required drug therapy and a prescription lotion that must be applied four times per day for several months. He will not be able to swim or go outside without a shirt, and he must have his back washed immediately if he sweats during the summer to avoid infection. There is also no guarantee that his injury will heal without a scar.
According to the mother of the youth, the boy had the ice and salt on his back for 20 minutes. As a result of the injury he suffered, she has been reaching out on Facebook and YouTube to make sure that young individuals are aware of the potential danger of this challenge.
As seen with the 12-year-old boy, the injuries can be quite extensive. Because these injuries mimic the damage of frostbite, people are at high-risk for the following injuries if they participate in the challenge – and especially if they leave the ice and salt on their skin for an extended period to “win” the challenge.
Liability is difficult in these types of cases, but it can be applied. While YouTube and other social media platforms encouraging and sharing these videos cannot be held liable, there are parties that may be considered liable under Illinois law.
Sometimes, there may not be anyone liable for the injury other than the person him or herself. Unfortunately, these types of cases are extremely complex, and they are not always successful. However, if you are the victim of the salt and ice challenge, and you were injured because of someone’s malicious act or because someone forced you into the challenge, you may have a claim against him or her in civil court.
Parental liability laws in Illinois are quite clear. Therefore, if your children tend to follow YouTube or engage in these viral fads, you may want to have a discussion with them. Even if you do not think your child is malicious, a simple prank against a friend could force you to pay thousands in damages.
If you or a loved one was injured in a challenge or any type of accident, determining liability requires a comprehensive knowledge of the law. The accident law professionals at Malman Law can assist you.
We work as your advocate and will fight aggressively for your right to compensation. After an injury, make your first call to our team or contact us online. All of our consultations are free – we have attorneys ready to take your call 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
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