The salt and ice challenge: Warnings over dangerous playground craze

The NSPCC has backed warnings against a dangerous playground craze sweeping Yorkshire's schools.

The charity has seen an increase in children taking part in the 'salt and ice challenge' - where young people deliberately burn themselves in front of their peers.

A 'challenger' pours salt on a body part before placing ice on top of it, causing a stinging sensation. The participants then compete to see who can withstand the pain for the longest, and often post videos on social media.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The mixture of ice, water and salt causes the temperature to fall as low as -18 degrees, which can cause second-degree burns, frostbite and nerve damage.

The NSPCC's north of England campaign manager Helen Westerman advised teachers and parents to keep a close eye on playground pranks.

“It’s important that schools keep a close eye on all emerging trends and we welcome the warning to head teachers. The rise of social media has contributed to increasing peer pressure among children and this ‘craze’ is another clear example of the risks.

“The NSPCC publishes advice and guidance for parents on discussing online safety with their children, as well as Net Aware – the UK’s only parental guide to social media and gaming apps.”

If adults are concerned or have any questions on how to approach the subject with their children, contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit the NSPCC website.


1. Say it with confidence

Be assertive. Practice saying 'no' so that it's easier when someone asks. Avoid situations which feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

2. Try not to judge them

By respecting their choices, they should respect yours.

3. Spend time with friends who can say 'no'

It takes confidence to say no to your friends. You could try seeing how your other friends stand up to peer pressure and you can try this too.

4. Suggest something else to do

If you don't feel comfortable doing what your friends are doing, why not suggest something you could do instead.