WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – First responders are sending a warning to parents about a dangerous new trend online. The “Whoosh Bottle Challenge” is the latest social media trend that’s put a child in the hospital.
The viral experiment involves coating the inside of a large plastic bottle with rubbing alcohol and lighting it on fire. As it ignites, it makes a “whoosh” sound.
It’s not the first time a TikTok trend has attracted the attention of first responders. This time last year, kids were putting pennies in electrical outlets.
“Kids have an inaccurate and unrealistic and unsafe view of fire, so what looks like fun often turns very very bad,” said Wilmington Fire Department community risk reduction coordinator Wendy Giannini- King. “Kids don’t know what fire looks like in real… in real life. They see it in the games they are playing, and you know their player gets knocked out in the game and they get to start back over fresh, but in real life that’s not the way it works with fire. Property gets destroyed, lives end because of fire, and that’s because of the unpredictable and volatile nature of fire.”
Last week, a child in Connecticut wound up in the hospital after trying the challenge. Wilmington fire leaders hope his tragic story encourages parents to talk to their kids, and seek help from the city’s underutilized Youth Fire Setter Intervention and Prevention Program.
It’s a free educational resource designed to help kids that have been known to play with fire.
“It’s designed around what happened or what parents are worried about happening, the age of the kids, the seriousness and the danger level,” said Giannini-King of the program.
The decade-old program is not aimed to get anyone in trouble, but to see through the smokescreen of flashy social media stunts and remind kids that playing with fire can end in tragedy.
“It’s the very bottom line of this program: prevent what’s preventable, intervene when we need to because no one… no one should be hurt in a fire.”
For more information about the program, contact Wendy Giannini-King at (910) 342-2731.
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