Squid Game craze: Australian child suffers severe burns trying to recreate challenge from Netflix hit

Most injuries occur when children attempt to recreate dalgona candy challenge, which involves handling hot honeycomb

Sravasti Dasgupta
Monday 22 November 2021 08:27
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File: Doctors issue warning against children recreating challenges from Squid Game

A child in southern Australia has been hospitalised after suffering serious burns while attempting to participate in a viral TikTok challenge inspired by the Netflix series Squid Game.

While the child’s identity has not been revealed, burns specialist Dr Amy Jeeves of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide told 7NEWS that at least one child had presented to the hospital with a “nasty burn” after handling hot honeycomb.

Squid Game, a Korean-language thriller that is streaming on Netflix, explores a dystopian reality in which a mysterious organisation recruits people in severe debt to compete in a series of deadly children’s games for the chance to win 45.6bn won (£28.5m).

In one of the games in the show, players are asked to carve out a symbol etched into a brittle sugar candy called dalgona, a honeycomb-style sweet, without cracking the whole piece. Dalgona is typically sold with a variety of shapes but Squid Game featured four, a triangle, circle, star, and an umbrella.

The game has gone viral on social media, with users attempting to recreate the challenge on TikTok.

The sweet is made with melted sugar and baking soda, which is then poured onto a flat surface and stamped with a mould with the desired pattern. Most injuries occur during the heating or the pouring process.

“You need to heat up the sugar to about 145C, the contact time for the extra hot sticky liquid is what causes the severe burns,” Dr Jeeves said.

This is not the first accident involving the dalgona candy challenge.

Last month, a children’s hospital in Sydney issued a warning against the challenge after three children were admitted for injuries, ranging from mild burns to nerve damage, acquired while handling honeycomb. One of the three children, a 14-year-old, suffered deep burns to his hand and nerve damage.

And such incidents are not limited to Australia, with schools and hospitals in the UK also issuing similar warnings. Earlier this month, Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s specialist burn centre warned families after it noted a worrying increase in the number of young people suffering injuries after attempting to recreate Squid Game challenges.

The South Korean thriller has become the most streamed show on Netflix, with around 111 million viewers watching the show within just the first two and half weeks of its release.

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