Milk crate challenge: What is it and is it really dangerous?

The latest challenge to storm the internet involves milk crates, balance – and painful falls

A man walks up a pyramid of milk crates as he takes part of the milk crate challenge, in Venice, California on August 24th, 2021. Photograph: Apu GOMES / AFP

A man walks up a pyramid of milk crates as he takes part of the milk crate challenge, in Venice, California on August 24th, 2021. Photograph: Apu GOMES / AFP

 

I’ve been hearing about the milk crate challenge. What is it?

The latest challenge to take the internet by storm involves milk crates, balance and some painful falls. In the milk crate challenge, which recently started on TikTok, participants take on a set of milk crates precariously stacked in the shape of a pyramid, attempt to climb to the top and then back down again without toppling over.

Well it’s new and it’s on the internet it must be dangerous, right?

As videos of people falling painfully go viral on social media and rack up millions of views, doctors across the US have warned people of the dangerous injuries that can occur.

So far, craze – and th the alarmism – seem confined to the US. The crates might not be so widely available on this side of the pond.

“It’s perhaps even worse than falling from a ladder,” Shawn Anthony, an orthopaedic surgeon at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, has told the Washington Post. “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,” he added.

With many hospitals across the US 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.

George Gantsoudes, a Virginia-based orthopaedic surgeon, wrote on Twitter: “The orthopaedic surgeries required to fix problems caused by this may fall under the umbrella of ‘elective surgeries’.”

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.”

Sounds serious

Some people can see the lighter side. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also weighed in on the challenge after comedian Conan O’Brien joked 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?”

So who is to blame?

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 challenges including the blackout challenge, where young people are encouraged to hold their breath until they pass out, and the Benadryl challenge, where young people intentionally consume large amounts of the antihistamine to induce hallucinations.

What does TikTok say about this risky behaviour on its platform?

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 behaviour whether online or offline.” – Guardian

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