A teenage boy in Little Rock, Arkansas, has reportedly become the latest victim of the “Hot Water Challenge,” a trend among children that has already resulted in one death and lead to several serious injuries.
Nickolas Conrad, 15, was at a sleepover with several high school friends this past weekend when he woke to a burning pain on his neck.
“When I woke up ... I started screaming and crying,” he told KTHV. “It was the worst pain of my life.”
According to KARK, one of the boys sleeping over had heated up water in the microwave and poured it on Conrad’s neck, Conrad’s mother says. Conrad’s mother, Mickey, also says the boys burned her son’s arm with the tip of a cigarette lighter.
And then ... nothing. Police told KTHV that the adults in the house where the incident took place were asleep when it happened and didn’t know what was going on. Meanwhile, Conrad said he laid in bed for roughly two hours, crying, before he finally examined his wound in the bathroom mirror. He told the station that his friends later told him they didn’t think the water was that hot.
The next morning, Conrad went home, still without receiving professional medical attention. When he got back, he was still in pain, Mickey Conrad told KARK.
“Burning, screaming, flesh rolled off,” was how Mickey Conrad described her son’s condition.
They immediately went to the hospital, Mickey Conrad said, where it was determined that her son had suffered first- and second-degree burns. He is expected to make a full recovery.
However, the incident has led him to reevaluate his friendships.
“I just want them to leave me alone,” he told KHTV about the boys who threw the water on him. “They're not my friends anymore and they're not going to be.”
Mickey Conrad also wants the incident to be an educational moment for other parents.
“I thought he had been in an accident and that it had been an accident but when I found out it was deliberate, it's so concerning,” she told KARK. “"It's a real thing. It is not a joke or prank. It's cruel and it's criminal.
"I want it stopped. Children have to think ahead. It's not funny."
Warning: The video below has graphic images some viewers might find upsetting
An incident extremely similar to Conrad’s took place earlier this month in New York City, when 11-year-old Jamoneisha Merritt was at a sleepover with friends. They also tossed boiling water on her, but the water went on more than just her neck, causing second-degree burns to her face, shoulders and chest as well.
The “Hot Water Challenge” is a game played by children where scalding water is either thrown on a victim, sometimes with their consent, or the victim is dared to drink boiling water from a straw.
In Florida, an 8-year-old died in July after drinking the hot water from a straw, which caused severe burns to her mouth and throat. She received a tracheotomy, but suffered respiratory problems and died several months later.