EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – East Haven officials are warning residents about the latest TikTok challenge after a child was burned while attempting to do the ‘challenge.’
‘The Whoosh Bottle Experiment’ involved the use of alcohol and a bottle, which is ignited and creates a ‘whoosh,’ according to the East Haven fire chief.
“You take a little bit of an ignitable liquid, you roll it around, and it makes a small explosion and a ‘whoosh’ noise when it happens,” said Fire Marshal Charles Miller, East Haven.
On Dec. 28, the East Haven Fire Department responded to a call for burns around 8:30 p.m. While treating the 12-year-old boy, officials learned that the child had been burned while doing this TikTok challenge. The challenge caused severe burns and the child is being treated at the Bridgeport Hospital Burn Center after being transferred from Yale Childrens’ Hospital.
“It may be cool, you may think you can handle it, but it can explode and it can cause serious injuries,” Dr. Alisa Savetamal, the medical director at the Connecticut Burn Center said. “One is the burn to the skin, and a lot of times these kinds of injuries cause burns to the face. Sometimes they’ll heal, but they may not, and they could cause permanent scarring. Another type of injury is the inhalation injury, where you breathe in the hot gas.”
Fire Chief Matt Marcarelli is reminding the public that fire is not a toy.
“This could easily have led to a fatality as well as a major fire in the house,” Marcarelli said. “Alcohol is a volatile flammable liquid and can act as an accelerant.”
Attorney General William Tong says they’ve reached out to TikTok, asking why the videos haven’t been removed. He released a statement saying, “We have already reached out to TikTok demanding answers as to how this dangerous “Whoosh Bottle Experiment” was not removed from their platform. We’ve been assured by TikTok leaders in the past that they have systems in place to remove this harmful content, but clearly those systems are not working. A Connecticut child is now seriously injured because of the dangerous content on their platform. We expect to meet with TikTok leaders, Connecticut parents and educators in early 2022 and urge them to step up and do better to protect our children.”
A TikTok spokesperson sent the following statement to News 8 Wednesday:
“We understand that this school science experiment can be done safely with proper precautions, but videos without visible safety measures will be removed from our platform. We also work to add caution labels to videos performed in a controlled setting, though they are ineligible for recommendation into people’s For You feeds.”
The fire marshal is reaching out to East Haven Public Schools to make sure that kids are aware of the potential dangers associated with fire and the latest social media challenge.