Babysitter charged after girl burned in salt-ice challenge

WASHINGTON – A child abuse arrest in Prince William County has shed light on a hazardous game that can burn a child’s skin.

A 9-year-old girl from Dumfries was severely burned while she and her babysitter were playing a game known as the salt and ice challenge, Prince William police say.

The idea is to see how long a person can stand the burn that comes from the reaction of salt and ice on the skin. But doctors say the most extreme cases can cause second and third degree burns.

The babysitter, Keedra Lashae Smalls, 21, also of Dumfries, held the salt and ice on the girl’s skin for a short period of time on Feb. 26. Burns and swelling formed on her skin, Prince William police say.

School officials noticed the burns on the girl and called police March 4. Police arrested Small the following day on a felony child abuse charge.

The skin’s heat dissolves the salt and melts the ice resulting in a frostbite-like burn. It only takes a few seconds for the burning sensation to begin.

Despite the risks, videos posted to showing adult and teens attempting the challenge have gotten millions of hits.

WTOP’s Thomas Warren contributed to this report. Follow @tewarren and @WTOP on Twitter.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up