What Parents Should Know About the Hot Coil Challenge

It wasn’t too long ago that that I sat down on my couch in front of my laptop and wrote a post warning parents about the dangers of a scary new viral trend, The Tide Pod Challenge.

I finished writing, closed my laptop and thought to myself, “that’s it, we can’t get any stupider than this.”

I was wrong.

Please pardon me for being slightly more candid in this post than I normally would be but I’m honestly baffled by the fact that I’m writing yet another post about a “challenge” that makes me question everything I know about humanity.

I just made the mistake of checking my e-mail and I received an article talking about a potential new viral challenge: the Hot Coil Challenge.

I very much refuse to share footage or even photos from the initial video daring viewers to follow suit for two reasons. 1) There is no way I’m giving this live-action Beavis and Butthead any more attention than they deserve and 2) it’s painfully graphic and just painful to watch.

The challenge first appeared on Reddit when the video surfaced. A young man is standing over an electric stove complete with coils. The burner is on and bright read from the heat.

“See that hot {expletive} coil?” he asks the cameraman.

“Yeah. We’ve got your face too. You reaction will be priceless.”

The young man then places his forearm on the hot coil, which immediately begins steaming and he begins screaming.

In a snap it’s over and he proudly displays his smoldering, third-degree burn to the camera.

As of sitting to write this, the video I’m referring to is the only one out there. Many Reddit users condoned the challenge, calling it what it is, stupid. I’m hoping that this whole things ends where it began, with these two Darwin Award-winners doing what they can for 15-minutes of internet fame.

However, I think it’s important that parents are mindful of the potential for this video to lead to a trend of copycats. Get a conversation started early and get ahead of them finding out about this on the internet. Ask them what they know about the challenge and if there understand the dangers of such actions.

In just a few seconds the young man in the video received a third-degree burn. This type of burn reaches into the fat layer beneath the skin. Burned areas may be charred black or white. The skin may look waxy or leathery. Third-degree burns can destroy nerves, causing numbness.

Complications from this or any type of burn can include:

  • Burns can leave skin vulnerable to bacterial infection and increase your risk of sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening infection that travels through the bloodstream and affects your whole body. It progresses rapidly and can cause shock and organ failure.
  • Low blood volume.Burns can damage blood vessels and cause fluid loss. This may result in low blood volume (hypovolemia). Severe blood and fluid loss prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the body.
  • Dangerously low body temperature.The skin helps control the body’s temperature, so when a large portion of the skin is injured, you lose body heat. This increases your risk of a dangerously low body temperature (hypothermia). Hypothermia is a condition in which the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat.
  • Breathing problems.Breathing hot air or smoke can burn airways and cause breathing (respiratory) difficulties. Smoke inhalation damages the lungs and can cause respiratory failure.
  • Burns can cause scars and ridged areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue (keloids).
  • Bone and joint problems.Deep burns can limit movement of the bones and joints. Scar tissue can form and cause shortening and tightening of skin, muscles or tendons (contractures). This condition may permanently pull joints out of position.


As I mentioned, this challenge has yet to receive “viral” status, but the video itself has. I would like to think that this single video would be enough to deter anyone from recreating something like this but I said the same thing in the early moments of the Tide Pod Challenge so really anything is possible.

Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy Central and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com

You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s