For parents of teens and pre-teens, there’s a new food dare gaining in popularity that should be on your radar. Like the other dares we’ve written about, such as the cinnamon challenge (see below for a full list), teens are uploading videos of themselves taking the “Turkey Slurpee” challenge onto popular social media sites such as YouTube, Instagram, Vine, and Facebook.
WHAT IS THE TURKEY SLURPEE?
The challenge was dubbed the Turkey Slurpee by 29-year-old Lacey Sessions who has uploaded multiple videos of herself performing the feat online. One of the videos is a tutorial that concludes with her own warning, “Now that I’ve shown you how to do it, don’t try this at home.”
The stunt consists of placing a piece of thin deli meat – one without holes so that no air gets through – over your mouth, then inhaling (or slurping) it into your mouth, down your esophagus and into your stomach in one fell swoop. Many of the videos online show the person choking or gagging before they spit the meat back out.
WHY IS THE TURKEY SLURPEE DANGEROUS?
According to emergency room doctor, Robert Glatter, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, choking, seizures and even brain damage are some of the possible results if the trick goes wrong.
In an interview with CBS New York, Glatter talked about recently treating a 15-year-old girl who was unable to breathe because the deli meat had lodged in her throat. “We actually had to use manual forceps to remove the meat that was caught in the back of the throat,” Glatter said.
Watch the full news report from CBS New York here.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY TEEN FROM DANGEROUS DARES?
Education and open communication are your best bet when it comes keeping your teen safe from this and other dangerous dares. Here are a few tips:
Research the dares yourself.
Talk about their risks and consequences using facts, real life examples, and videos that show their harmful outcomes.
Discuss peer pressure and how to say “no.”
Teach your kids the rule of thumb: if something doesn’t seem like a good idea, it probably isn’t.
Make sure they know that they can call or text you whenever they feel uncertain or uncomfortable in a situation (at a party for example), as many dares are attempted when teens are in a group.
Create an exit plan ahead of time so your child can extricate themselves from these types of situations if they feel uncomfortable.
Let them practice saying “no” in various life situations so that if they need to stand up for themselves against peer pressure, it will be easier for them.
As with most food dares, don’t assume your child knows better, or that they are “too smart” to try the Turkey Slurpee.
Set a good example by not participating in dares yourself.
In many cases, it’s the “good” kids, seeking an alternative to drug or alcohol experimentation, who are participating in dares such as the Turkey Slurpee. But neither that momentary feeling of excitement over trying something seemingly silly, new, or dangerous, nor the fifteen minutes of fame the video of their feat may garner them online, is worth risking their life.