Woman burned by snow-making experiment

A woman suffered first- and second- degree burns over
the top half of her body after using boiling hot water to
make snow—an experiment she’d seen on the news.
Jan. 13, 2014
Jacqueline had seen the trick done over and over on local and national news. Take a cup of boiling hot water. Throw it in the arctic cold air. What comes down? Snow.

It was below zero in her Minnesota neighborhood that day.

Still, she was nervous enough to make sure the six children watching her were on the deck, a safe distance from her attempt.

That was wise.

An arc of boiling water
When she flipped the pot of boiling hot water into the air holding its handle, the water came out in an arc. The top of her head, back and chest were covered in boiling water. She sustained first- and second- degree burns over the top half of her body.

Jill Robinson, MD, saw her at Fairview Clinics—Andover that day.

“This is a very serious injury,” says Dr. Jill Robinson, “but it could have been much worse. Her quick actions helped to prevent further damage and saved her from more severe burns. She removed the hot clothing and jumped into a cool shower.

“Our biggest challenge now is controlling her discomfort and watching out for potential infection,” Dr. Robinson adds. “Injuries like this can have long-term effects. Her skin will now be more sensitive to both hot and cold temperatures for the rest of her life, which can impact her outdoor activities year-round.”

Not a fun experiment
Jacqueline is good-naturedly embarrassed about what happened. She asked us not to share her real name or any photos of her face.

“I’m telling my story so that other people won’t do what I did,” Jacqueline says. “I’m not sure what those reporters are doing differently, but this was not a fun experiment. I was in a lot of pain. My poor kids and their friends saw the whole thing.”

Dr. Robinson urges caution as well. “I’ve seen the same experiment on TV myself. It looks fun. But those injuries weren’t.”

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