Childrens Health

Benadryl Challenge: 13yo Dies after Attempting Dangerous TikTok trend

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Another teenager has lost his life after taking part in a dangerous TikTok challenge known as the Benadryl Challenge. Like many TikTok challenges, this one encourages teens to record themselves doing something incredibly dangerous and then share it on TikTok.

What is the Benadryl Challenge? 

The Benadryl Challenge sees teens swallowing over six times the recommended dose of the antihistamine drug, Benadryl and seeing what happens.

The diphenhydramine in Benadryl, the active ingredient that makes you drowsy, can also give you a ‘high feeling’ if taken in excess. Teens will swallow up to 14 of these pills in order to experience hallucinations and then share their ‘trip’ online.

As you can imagine, this is beyond dangerous. An overdose of Benadryl can lead to low blood pressure, seizures and death.

Sadly, for Jacob Stevens, the Benadryl Challenge left him with no brain function and left his devastated parents with no option but to turn off his life support. Jacob, who was just 13, was described as a “well-mannered, funny, loving kid” and will clearly be missed by everyone who knew him.

Jacob’s dad, Justin, has shared his son’s story with the media in the hopes of notifying parents that this challenge is out there and teens are actively taking part in it.

‘Too much for his body’ 

According to Justin, Jacob took the medication in front of friends last weekend. His friends filmed the stunt to put on social media. Shortly after taking the medication, Jacob’s body started seizing.

“When he did it, all came at once and it was too much for his body,” Justin said.

The teen was rushed to hospital where he spent six days on a ventilator. Sadly scans confirmed Jacob had no brain activity.

“No brain scan, there was nothing there,” Justin said. “They said we could keep him on the vent, that he could lay there but he will never open his eyes, he’ll never breathe, smile, walk or talk.”

The devasted father made the decision to take his son off life support, six days after he took part in the Benedaryl Challenge. He also shared a photo of Jacob on life support, asking parents to share it so their children understand just how dangerous the Beneryl Challenge is.

“If you have children or loved ones please share this picture with them in hopes that it will keep them from making this big mistake,” Justin said.

Benadryl Challenge. Jacob Stevens
Source: Facebook

Through the grief, Jacob’s family is rallying on his behalf and pushing for local lawmakers to put an age restriction on Benadryl. They also want to see TikTok impose an age restriction for making accounts, forcing users to provide identification before being allowed onto the platform.

“I’m going to do anything I can to make sure another child doesn’t go through it,” Jacob’s grandmother, Dianna, said.

“I want everyone to know about my son. Keep an eye on what [your kids are] doing on that phone. Talk to them about the situation,” Justin added.

Jacob’s family and friends have raised $3,600 for Jacob’s funeral costs through a GoFundMe account. 

Dangerous Tiktok trends to be aware of

The Benedryl Challenge is only one of the many dangerous TikTok trends out there. Below are several more to be aware of:

Tranquiliser challenge

In February 2023, 15 children in Mexico were hospitalised after competing in a new dangerous internet trend called the tranquilizer challenge. This particular challenge involves taking sedatives and seeing who can stay awake the longest. The most common drug being used is the sedative clonazepam, a seizure and anxiety medication.

The pass-out challenge 

The pass-out challenge has been around since 2008 but it’s only picked up momentum in the past three years, thanks to TikTok. This viral challenge, also known as speed dreaming, fainting game or the game of choking, encourages people to see how long they can hold their breath, basically challenging young children to lose consciousness.

According to Financial Review, the pass-out challenge has been linked to the deaths of at least 20 kids aged 14 or younger in the past 18 months including an 8-year-old in America, a 9-year-old in America, a 12-year-old in Argentina, a 12-year-old in England and a 14-year-old in Scotland.

The blue whale challenge

Another concerning challenge is the Blue Whale Challenge. This challenge encourages teens to complete 50 challenges in 50 days, the last being suicide. It allegedly started in Russia in 2016 and has allegedly been linked to hundreds of deaths.

The skull-breaking challenge 

This challenge involves two people tricking a third person into jumping into the air and then kicking their feet out from under them. And filming it to upload to TikTok. Also known as the Trip Jump Challenge, the person being tripped has a very good chance of landing on his skull.

The Melanotan trend 

While this isn’t really a challenge, it does pose some risks and is quite popular in Australia, especially for teenaged girls. The trend encourages users to snort Melanotan drops or use a nasal spray to achieve the perfect tan.  Both products are not approved for marketing or sale in Australia, but, it’s still possible to get them online illegally.

The Tide pod Challenge

The ‘challenge’ involves putting a pod of laundry detergent in your mouth and trying to chew it. And yes, it looks as disgusting (and stupid) as it sounds but teens are still doing it. It usually ends with the challenger (unsurprisingly) gagging or spewing up the detergent. The Washington Post reports there have been 37 reported poisoning cases among US teenagers so far this year, with half of them being intentional.

The Ikea Challenge 

Also known as the Hiding Craze, this challenge sees teens hiding in Ikea stores and then filming their antics. The goal is to remain hidden for 24-48 hours. It sounds absolutely insane, but it’s actually something teens are getting away with, including in Australia. Last year three Australian teens managed to remain in an Ikea store in Logan, QLD overnight. They shared their antics on TikTok a few days later.

In addition to these dangerous TikTok challenges, teens are also losing their lives due to chroming, vaping and inhaling helium.

Please read our stories on these dangers as well. It’s so important we are aware of them and talk to our kids about these things. Let them know how dangerous it can be and hopefully, they will choose to avoid these deadly fads and challenges.

Chroming: 

Vaping:

Inhaling Helium: 

Where to get support

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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