by baldilocks

Remember that old warning that came from your parents if you said a bad word?

“If you say that again, I’ll wash your mouth out with soap.” Of course, my various parental units never had occasion to give me that warning because I was Miss Goodie Two Shoes, baby. Now might be a different story.

Anyway, some kids are preemptively putting soap in their mouths and swallowing it; not because they feel guilty for using four-letter words; not because they feel dirty inside.

But, just because.

Spring cleaning may be several months away, but laundry detergent is making big headlines this week as a dangerous stunt called the “Tide Pod Challenge” is going viral on YouTube and other social media platforms.

The challenge is for participants –- primarily teens and young adults, in the videos making the rounds –- to put the pods into their mouths, sometimes even chew them, and then post videos of what happens. Some of these individuals experience foaming at the mouth and severe coughing spells after consuming a pod.

It’s more than just a strange behavior, it’s potentially deadly. Here are some facts about the craze to help

friends and family protect teens from the hazardous experiment.

What are Tide pods?

Tide pods, the brand’s version of the popular laundry detergent pods, are small packets of detergent designed to dissolve while washing clothes. Each pod contains pre-measured, concentrated detergent levels.

The outside wrapping of a tide pod is made of polyvinylalcohol (PVA), a water soluble plastic compound. For the same reason that this packet dissolves in the machine washing laundry [sic], it can also dissolve in a person’s mouth — leading to the immediate release and absorption of the contents.

Even if the stuff couldn’t kill you, who would want to put soap in their mouths? The whole reason that the old-school fake threat was so useful was that soap tastes horrible.

But, as a friend pointed out, we old people did crazy things when we were kids. My “crazy” usually involved biking/rolling skating down a steep incline. Helmets and knee-pads never crossed our minds or those of our parents.

In short, old-school crazy usually involved fun.

But I guess You Tube fame is the new fun.

May they all remove themselves from my lawn with prejudice. As a matter of fact, I don’t even want them on my street. That much stupidity is probably more contagious than this year’s flu.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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