Last week, an 11-year-old girl was at a friend’s house for a sleepover in the Bronx borough of New York, when the joyous event turned grave. Jamoneisha Merritt was asleep when another girl doused her with boiling water, leaving the middle schooler with severe burns to her face and neck.
It was the latest in a string of recent incidents that have involved kids being doused with hot water — whether self-inflicted or with a willing or unsuspecting participant — presumably due to the growing popularity of “hot water challenge” videos on YouTube.
Last year, a 10-year-old boy in North Carolina suffered second- and third-degree burns when he and his stepbrother attempted the “hot water challenge,” and an eight-year-old girl in Florida died last month from being dared to drink boiling water through a straw by her cousin. The girl’s mother claimed the two came up with the idea after watching a video on YouTube.