WARNING: Graphic images
Three Australians children have ended up in a Sydney hospital due to a challenge based on the popular Netflix series Squid Game.
The Children's Hospital at Westmead has issued a warning to parents about the so-called "honeycomb challenge", The Daily Telegraph reports.
The challenge, which has gone viral on TikTok, involves carving a shape from a thin sheet of honeycomb, without breaking it.
While it seems innocent, young children are being injured from the boiling sugar, suffering from mild scalds to severe burns and nerve damage.
Aiden Higgie, 14, was one of the children admitted in the last month altering suffering third degree burns on his legs during an attempt at the challenge. He had melted sugar in a non-microwave safe cup, which then exploded and spilt on him
"A lot of kids his age are watching Squid Game," horrified mother Helena Higgie told The Daily Telegraph.
"It's very popular and Aiden was trying to recreate the honeycomb with the imprint on it, he looked it up on TikTok on how to create it."
She said he used water, bicarb of soda and sugar and used a plastic cup. She said while a lot of the cups at their house are microwavable, some aren't and "kids really can't tell the difference".
Helena said she was in another room while this was happening, and that the cup "exploded".
It boiled up to a ridiculous temperature, and when he took the cup out it exploded in his hand.
"It has burnt his hand, and because it was sugar and plastic melted together, it has run down his leg from his knee down to his shin and it stuck and kept on burning and burning and burning.
"It was like toffee and burnt right through to the nerves.
"At the burn unit, his hands are OK because they were first degree burns but his leg is third degree burns and we are still trying to work out whether to do skin grafts or not.
"At the moment we are there every few days doing dressings because the burn is so thick. It is a very slow process."
Aiden will need to wear a pressure bandage for a year. He said he had been bored and that he saw the challenge all over the internet, and warns others not to do it, or to make sure your parents are present if doing it.
Dr Erik La Hei, acting Head of Burns at Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, said in addition to the three cases at Westmead, he had heard of several others.
"We've had three cases here and from my colleagues I've heard of one in Perth and one in Melbourne as well," he said.
"... Molten sugar is much hotter than boiling water and it makes for a very deep burn almost instantaneously, it's quite dangerous."
He said the best first aid in this case is to put it completely under cool running water for 20 minutes to reduce the temperature, and stop the burning process.