Health Warnings

Doctor Warning about TikTok Toffee Trend: Recipe for Disaster

When my 11-year-old daughter asked if she could make something she’d seen on TikTok, I didn’t even think it could be dangerous. I am fully aware of the many alarming and potentially deadly TikTok trends out there, from the Blue Whale Challenge to the Passout Challenge.

But, up until recently, I had never heard of the newest TikTok trend – the Toffee Trend.

Tiktok toffee trend
There’s a new TikTok toffee trend to watch out for. Source: Adobe Stock

The viral toffee trend recipe shows how you can make a traditional Chinese snack – tanghulu – consisting of fruits coated in rock sugar, “easily” at home using the microwave. The problem is the concoction reaches alarmingly high temperatures and children are injuring themselves in the process.

While my daughter didn’t experience any issues when trying this trend or making tanghulu, many teenagers across the country have experienced severe burns, prompting emergency doctors to issue a warning about this “recipe for disaster”.

Toffee trend causing severe burns

One victim, year 7 student Violent Higgins, shared her story with 9News. The young girl dropped the hot toffee mixture on her foot and, four weeks later, is still unable to walk.

“Everyone doesn’t put the part where they hurt themselves in the video,” she said. “They just say how fun it is, so I wanted to try it.”

“It was burning. Even after my mum pulled it off, it was still burning. It was just sizzling,” she said.

‘A recipe for disaster’

Royal Children’s Hospital physician, Dr Warwick Teague, told Today that 15 children across Australia and New Zealand have presented to emergency departments just in the past month, after following the experimental trend.

“Unfortunately, these are severe injuries and children have needed surgery to replace skin grafts,” he said.

“This is not a recipe or a trend to be following, this is a recipe for disaster. So let’s get ahead of it and start conversations to help kids realise that it’s great to be involved in cooking, but this is dangerous.”


First aid for burns

Tiny Hearts Education shared this important first aid for burns information about what to do if your child is ever burned.

  • Call 000 if the pain is severe or if the burn is to the genitals, hands, face, throat, or airways.
  • Immediately hold the affected area under cool running water for 20 minutes.
  • Do not apply ice, lotion, creams or food items (such as egg whites, toothpaste or butter) to the wound.
  • Cover the wound with a loose nonstick dressing or with cling wrap.

If the burn is minor and hasn’t caused the skin to blister or break, you shouldn’t need to see a doctor. But for all other burns, or if you’re particularly concerned, seek medical assistance.

TikTok and our tweens

As a mum with a very avid TikTok user, I know how difficult it can be to completely ban your kids from watching TikTok. But it’s so important that we as parents are aware of any dangerous trends or challenges presenting on this highly influential platform. If we are aware of them, we can discuss them with our tweens and teens and communicate about why they are dangerous.

Microwaving hot water and sugar isn’t something that sounds particularly dangerous, especially to a child, which is why it’s up to us to gently remind our kids that this isn’t a safe thing to do.

Additional TikTok trends to be on high alert for include:

The Passout Challenge: 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.

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.

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. Also known as the Trip Jump Challenge, the person being tripped has a very good chance of landing on his skull.

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 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. 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.

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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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