August 26, 2021
The latest challenge to take the Internet by storm involves precariously stacked milk crates, balance—and some painful falls, The Guardian reports.
To complete the challenge, which recently started on TikTok, participants face a set of milk crates piled up in the shape of a pyramid—and attempt to climb to the top and then back down again without toppling over.
As videos of people falling painfully go viral on social media and rack up millions of views, doctors across the US are coming out to warn people of the dangerous injuries that can occur.
“It’s perhaps even worse than falling from a ladder,” Shawn Anthony, an orthopedic surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City told The Washington Post this week, adding, “It’s very difficult to brace yourself from the falls I’ve seen in these videos. They’re putting their joints at an even higher risk for injury.”
With many hospitals nationwide already overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and running short on space and staff, health departments are urging people to reconsider their choices before taking on the challenge.
On Monday, the Baltimore city health department tweeted: “With COVID-19 hospitalizations rising around the country, please check with your local hospital to see if they have a bed available for you, before attempting the #milkcratechallenge.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also weighed in on the challenge after comedian Conan O’Brien joked about how he needed federal officials to grant permission to the challenge before attempting it—playing off the FDA’s approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine earlier this week.
“Waiting for FDA approval before I take the Milk Crate Challenge,” O’Brien tweeted on Monday. The FDA responded shortly after, writing: “Although we regulate milk, we can’t recommend you try that. Perhaps enjoy a nice glass of 2% and return all those crates to the grocery store?”
The milk crate challenge is the latest of a slew of dares that have gone viral on TikTok. In recent months, the video-sharing platform has seen a rise of dangerous challenge—among them, the blackout challenge, which encouraged young people to hold their breath until they passed out, and the Benadryl challenge, which challenged young people to intentionally consume large amounts of the antihistamine to induce hallucinations.
In a statement about the most recent challenge, a TikTok spokesperson said: “TikTok prohibits content that promotes or glorifies dangerous acts, and we remove videos and redirect searches to our community guidelines to discourage such content. We encourage everyone to exercise caution in their behavior whether online or offline.”
Research contact: @guardian