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June 05, 2019

'Vacuum challenge': Why parents should definitely NOT facilitate this internet trend for kids

It can result in a serious condition known as 'cerebral hypoxia'

Parenting Social Media
vacuum challenge Pixabay/Pexels

The vacuum challenge is now trending on social media and YouTube.

The world of internet challenges has gone from the “cinnamon challenge” of about eight years ago to the horrifying and mentally scarring “MoMo challenge” and, now, to the potentially harmful “vacuum challenge.”

Also known as the “trash bag challenge,” it involves a person — oftentimes a child — putting their body into a trash bag, while another person uses a vacuum to suck all of the air out of the bag. The bag becomes skin-tight and the person generally falls over.

And then, of course, everyone in the videos laughs and laughs.

RELATED READ: What parents need to know about viral 'Momo Challenge' and their kids

But serious potential harm can result from the trending challenge. The New York Post reports that, per the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the challenge can lead to “cerebral hypoxia,” or reduced oxygen supply in the brain. Things like strangling, drowning and suffocation can lead to this condition, which results in inattentiveness, poor judgment, memory loss and a decrease in motor coordination, according to the institute.

Recovery depends on how long the brain was deprived of oxygen. Those unconscious for just a short time are likely to make a full recovery.

Here’s an example of the challenge, but a search on Instagram of #vacuumchallenge queues up hundreds of similar videos:

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