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How to Remove A Stuck Tongue From a Metal Pole

Getting your tongue stuck on a metal pole is no urban legend. It can happen. And it hurts. But here’s how to get it unstuck (just in case your kiddo gets dared to do it, like in A Christmas Story).


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We all know how it happens. Someone watches A Christmas Story, or has heard that you can get your tongue stuck to a pole and dares someone else to try it, thinking it won’t really work. Well, if the temps are chilly enough, it will stick. And if you try and yank it off, your kiddo may end up losing a few skin layers on their tongue. Ouch.

 

There’s a lot of science to it (thermal conductivity and such), but the gist of it is that your tongue is warm and wet, and when you lick something like a frozen pole, icicle or a dumpster (it’s happened!), the moisture from your tongue freezes and makes a connection to the frozen surface.

 

But your child won’t have to stay stuck forever, and you won’t even make the local news if you follow these steps.

 

  • Stay calm. Wait to lecture them on doing stupid dares until after they are unstuck.
     
  • ​Get the kid to stay calm. You don’t want them trying desperately to pull themselves away from the pole and get injured in the process.
     
  • If you can, get them to breathe on to the pole, because sometimes this will help loosen their tongue.
     
  • Grab some warm water. NOT hot water. You don’t want to burn their tongue and make the whole situation worse. Just warm from the tap is fine.
     
  • Slowly pour the warm water over the tongue and it should loosen the pole.
     
  • If this all fails, call the fire department. Begin your lecture once the trucks are on their way.

 

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