Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Have You Heard About "The Cinnamon Challenge"? You Need To!

Did you know that the latest youtube sensation is for teens to video themselves trying to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon without choking or throwing up. So fun...right?  Except if you are the kids that aspirated the cinnamon and end up hospitalized with damaged lungs and a lifetime of needing an inhaler.

OyVey, trying to keep up with the latest trend is a full-time job. This is the new party game. Add alcohol and pot to the mix and you have a very dangerous situation. OK so we know that teens are up for anything, and what in the world could be harmful about cinnamon, a spice that is associated with cozy afternoons of cinnamon toast, cinnamon and sugar and apples, sigh, such wonderful childhood memories. Not a negative association to be found. But cinnamon is not meant to be eaten on a spoon. It is meant to be sprinkled and diluted. Try telling that to a teen who sees other teens taking this challenge on youtube and who are rewarded by thousands of hits. "I'm famous!!!!!" This seems like such a simple way to get attention. "If more is better, I'll try to swallow two tablespoons, or more, it will be outrageous, and of course the more outrageous the better!" That is what is driving this challenge, whether on youtube, or at a weekend party or sleepover with friends.

You gotta talk to your kids about this. This seems like a dare that most kids would take on. Why not? It's not drugs, it's not alcohol, it's just a familiar, safe, everyday spice. But it can be dangerous. Go on youtube with your kids, and keyword, cinnamon challenge. As you watch the teens choking and coughing, explain what happens to a lung when someone takes something in that doesn't belong there. The lung can collapse, and an infection gets in. Not something you can control when those fine cinnamon particles start to clog the airway.
This link is a perfect example to watch with your kids.

 Remember just saying: "don't do it" is not a strategy. Here is your "I Get It" moment: " Hey honey, I get that this cinnamon challenge thing might present itself to you at some point, if it already hasn't. I get that it looks funny, to see what happens when people don't get the cinnamon down, and that your friends might dare you to try it. You don't have to get all preachy with them, but like I said this is really dangerous, you can say" I have asthma, this would be the kiss of death for me, literally!!!", or " I'll just puke, and I hate puking, so no way! or " hey I heard some girl almost died doing this, it's not THAT important, I am totally not in!" Help them to come up with a plan, so when this does come up they will be prepared with an out. I'm not saying you have to lock up your cinnamon now along with your alcohol, but can you put it behind a tall bottle in your cabinet!

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