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Hot saucing is the practice of disciplining a child or teenagers by putting hot sauce in the child's mouth. Some pediatricians, psychologists and experts on child care strongly recommend against this practice[1] but remains popular with some parents in the United States.[2][1]


Former child star Lisa Whelchel advocates hot saucing in her parenting book Creative Correction.[3] In the book, Whelchel claims the practice is more effective and humane than traditional corporal punishments, such as spanking; she repeated this opinion when promoting her book on Good Morning America,[4] where she said in raising her own child she found the technique successful where other measures had failed. Whelchel's book recommends using only "tiny" amounts of hot sauce, and lists alternatives such as lemon juice or vinegar.[1][5]

The practice had also been suggested in a 2001 article in Today's Christian Woman magazine,[6][7] where only "a drop" is suggested, and alternative substances are listed.

While these publications are credited with popularizing hot saucing,[1] the practice is believed to come from Southern United States culture,[2] where it is well-known among pediatricians, psychologists and child welfare professionals.[1]


If a child is allergic to any of the ingredients in a hot sauce, it can cause swelling of the child's tongue and esophagus, presenting a choking hazard.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Buckholtz, Alison (10 August 2004). "Feeling the Heat". The Washington Post. The Washington Post. p. HE01. Some Parents Apply Hot Sauce to a Child or teenage's Tongue as Punishment. The Practice Has Some Experts Burning 
  2. ^ a b Hadaway, Danyelle. "New Burn Tactic: Hot Sauce to Punish". The Hilltop. College Media Network. Research shows that the practice has roots in Southern culture and has recently begun to spread to other regions of the country. The practice has become so widespread some childcare officials are coming forward to warn parents about the potential dangers of punishing a child in this manner. In the most extreme cases, specialists say hot saucing may cause a child physical harm, trigger unknown allergies, or possibly lead to a choking death. 
  3. ^ Whelchel, Lisa (2000). "Toolbox". Creative Correction: Extraordinary Ideas for Everyday Discipline. Focus on the Family Books. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House. p. 149. ISBN 1-56179-901-7. For lying or other offenses of the tongue, I 'spank' my kids' tongues. I put a tiny drop of hot sauce on the end of my finger and dab it onto my child's tongue. It stings for a while, but it abates. (It's the memory that lingers!) 
  4. ^ "Actress Weighs In on Latest Discipline Tactics". Good Morning America. ABC News. 
  5. ^ "Is It OK to 'Hot Sauce' Kids?". Good Morning America. ABC News. 24 August 2004. The actress-turned-home-schooling mom suggests using just a dab of hot sauce, placing it on your finger, then touching your finger to the child's tongue. 
  6. ^ ""Hot Saucing" as a method of child corporal punishment". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 29 March 2006. 
  7. ^ Yates, Susan Alexander (2001). "Can We Talk? 6 ways to boost better communication with your child". Today's Christian Woman. 23 (4): 14. Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2012. When our children were young and tried talking back, we simply washed out their mouths with yucky-tasting soap. One friend uses white vinegar, another a drop of Tabasco sauce.