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Dares pose dangers for kids

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ATLANTA -

Cinnamon, nutmeg and marshmallows are all foods many of us have in our kitchen, but poison experts say they're also ingredients for online challenges. Teens and tweens are daring each other to swallow the spices and hold them down.
       
In the so-called "Cinnamon Challenge," kids swallow a spoonful of powered cinnamon and then try to hold it down for a minute without drinking anything. That can cause gagging, coughing and even vomiting. Hundreds of thousands of tweens and teens are posting video of the challenge online.

Georgia Poison Center Director Dr. Gaylord Lopez says trends like the cinnamon or nutmeg challenge spread so quickly on the internet that it's hard for safety experts to keep up, but they frequently get calls about kids taking these dares and making themselves sick.

"It's not unusual for word to get around school, word to get around campus that this is the latest craze, and it's a few clicks, you get a testimonial and then all of a sudden you're experimenting," Lopez said.

Dr. Lopez says in large doses, nutmeg can cause hallucinations, and cinnamon can trigger everything from vomiting to respiratory failure.
 
"Those are the calls we get, those are the calls the hospital call us about, those are the patients we worry about the most," Lopez said.

Lopez says parents need to tune in to these kinds of trends before they're kids take the bait.

Dares and challenges are not new, but Dr. Lopez says you may want to talk to your kids about the risks involved not just in doing these challenges, but in posting the video online for the whole world to see.

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