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Children need skin grafts after suffering burns attempting Squid Game ‘honeycomb’ challenge

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A spike in children needing skin grafts for horrific burns has led to doctors warning against a Squid Game-inspired trend on TikTok.

The second challenge in the hugely popular Netflix programme sees contestants attempt to snap the edges of a honeycomb biscuit off until just a shape in the middle is left. Those who fail are executed. 

Now the viral ‘honeycomb challenge’ sees fans make the sweet treats from scratch at home, which involves melting down sugar at extremely high temperatures to create the gooey mixture, which sticks to skin like glue.

Specialist burns units across the country have been hit with a spate of children aged between 11 and 15 suffering serious injuries since the show’s release.

The British Burn Association (BBA) posted an image of a burnt hand on Twitter, writing: ‘Burns services are seeing a spike in burn injuries following #squidgame and social media #honeycomb trend. Many are requiring surgery to treat.’

BBA Deputy Chair Professor Kayvan Shokrollahi is concerned the increasing number of children injured after copying the trend could be the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Specialist burns units across the country have been hit with a spate of children aged between 11 and 15 suffering serious injuries since the show's release. The British Burn Association posted this image online, warning of the dangerous trend

Specialist burns units across the country have been hit with a spate of children aged between 11 and 15 suffering serious injuries since the show’s release. The British Burn Association posted this image online, warning of the dangerous trend

Pictured: Squid Game protagonist Seong Gi-hun attempts to remove the umbrella shape from a honeycomb biscuit

Pictured: Squid Game protagonist Seong Gi-hun attempts to remove the umbrella shape from a honeycomb biscuit

Dalgona, a South Korean sweet featured as one of the lethal challenges in the Netflix TV series Squid Game has become a global craze

Dalgona, a South Korean sweet featured as one of the lethal challenges in the Netflix TV series Squid Game has become a global craze

He said: ‘The problem is that the boiling point of sugar is over 150 degrees and any spillage or contact of the syrup with skin causes much deeper burns which is compounded by the fact that it sticks to the skin.

‘It is also concerning that the age range of patients admitted recently is 11 to 15 and a number have needed skin grafts.

‘Our general advice is to put in place general common sense measures well-known by chefs when cooking candy or jam, including use of oven mitts when cooking or transferring any sugar syrup mixture, and of course adult supervision of cooking in a suitable environment.

‘The basic principles of first aid for scalds is immediate cool running water for 20 minutes (avoid ice), wrap the affected area loosely in cling film and seek medical attention.

‘Over the last few days, at least five patients have been seen with these injuries in the burn units of Trustees of the British Burn Association, and there are likely to be others.

‘Furthermore, only a proportion of injuries are likely to reach a burns unit, so we are concerned that this may be the tip of an iceberg.’

Lead Nurse for the London and South East Burns Network Nicole Lee also urged viewers of the hit programme to be careful if they copy the trend.

Aiden Higgie, 14, suffered serious burns to his hand and legs (pictured) while melting sugar to take part in the challenge

Aiden Higgie, 14, suffered serious burns to his hand and legs (pictured) while melting sugar to take part in the challenge 

The challenge involves carving a shape out of homemade honeycomb without breaking it

The challenge involves carving a shape out of homemade honeycomb without breaking it

She is burns matron at the specialist Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex, which has treated one patient as a result of the trend so far.

Nicole wrote on Twitter: ‘Following a spike of honeycomb related burn injuries seen across the UK burn services following Squid Game honeycomb, please be careful.’

She posted a TikTok video showing herself mixing sugar and bicarbonate of soda before pretending to spill the hot frying pan on her hand.

To treat the mock injury, she suggests cooling the burn wound under cool running water for 20 minutes before removing all jewellery and seeking medical advice.

Nora Nugent, consultant plastic surgeon and burns lead at the Queen Victoria Hospital, said: ‘Squid Game’s ‘honeycomb challenge’ has become a dangerous viral trend, resulting in children and adults sustaining burns when tipping out or handling the honeycomb, some of which require specialist surgery.

‘With sugar needing to be heated to somewhere between 121 and 130C to produce honeycomb, contact with the skin at that temperature can cause a serious burn injury.

‘If anything hot makes contact with the skin you should cool the area immediately for 20 minutes with cool running water, call for help if the burn requires medical attention, and loosely cover with cling film whilst transferring to a hospital or GP.

‘Most importantly, please don’t let your children or teenagers to make honeycomb unsupervised – you knowing this basic burns first aid can be crucial if they do get injured.’

Google searches for ‘honeycomb recipe’ have rocketed in the UK since the show released last month.



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