While TikTok is a goldmine for viral video trends, it's also a platform where many risky activities start, such as this new Milk Crate Challenge that has earned more than 82 million views.
This trending game, which has also gone viral on other platforms, involves stacking crates of milk into a pyramid to form a makeshift staircase that people attempt to climb. However, any misstep can easily lead to the crates toppling down, with the climber potentially sustaining injuries since the milk crates aren't sturdy and supportive of body weight.
Some challengers even double up on their attempts by climbing the steps in stiletto heels or while eating a bowl of cereal. Others are encouraged to do the challenge to win a bet, but some of the more disturbing fail videos show people wincing after they've fallen on their stomach, sides, or back on the hard plastic milk crates.
Dr. Shawn Anthony, an orthopedic surgeon in New York, told Today that the stunt is "very dangerous" and could lead to "orthopedic injuries" if the person falls. He cited that these injuries may range from a broken wrist or dislocated shoulder to an ACL tear or a serious spinal cord injury.
A Societal Threat
The doctor also said that attempting to do the challenge may be considered a societal threat because the injured will have to be rushed to hospital emergency rooms, which are currently overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
"This social media challenge puts unnecessary additional stress on our health system and health care providers," Dr. Anthony said.
Dr. Henry Schuitema of the Jefferson Health emergency department in New Jersey said that they had a patient with several fractured ribs after doing the challenge. He told The Washington Post that these types of injuries are preventable "just by being intelligent." The doctor further said that while the Milk Crate Challenge looks funny to watch and might even be entertaining to kids, people are bound to get hurt.
With the game's popularity, the Baltimore Health Department posted on Twitter to remind people to check the availability of the beds at the hospital before doing the challenge. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted that they aren't recommending the challenge to anyone after comedian Conan O' Brien said he would need FDA approval to do the challenge.
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. 🤕🏥 https://t.co/wsVliFp5bg— B'more City Health (@BMore_Healthy) August 23, 2021
Content Has Been Removed
Meanwhile, TikTok informed The Washington Post that it had removed videos promoting and glorifying dangerous acts as it's prohibited in their Community Guidelines. Regardless, several copycats have been proliferating on other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
The Milk Crate Challenge didn't exactly start on TikTok because a video from 2011 had been unearthed by Know Your Meme showing one guy attempting to climb stacks of milk crates. In early August, this old video was revived and reshared on Facebook. A week later, the Milk Crate Challenge started trending on TikTok, with users receiving at least five million views a day.
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