What is the milk crate challenge that doctors are warning against?

·4-min read
File image: A man falls down of a pyramid of milk crates while he participates if the Milk Crate Challenge (Getty Images)
File image: A man falls down of a pyramid of milk crates while he participates if the Milk Crate Challenge (Getty Images)

A new challenge called the Milk Crate Challenge has gone viral on TikTok. It involves groups of people stacking empty plastic milk crates in a pyramid-shaped staircase and attempting to walk from one side to another, without letting the pyramid fall apart.

In the past week, many social media users around the world have posted videos attempting this challenge. In fact, the video-sharing app TikTok has millions of videos of users seeking out this challenge.

But doctors have already started warning that the trend is dangerous and could result in people being hospitalised.

According to a statement, TikTok has likewise removed the hashtag #MilkCrateChallenge from their server as the platform “prohibits content that promotes or glorifies dangerous acts”.

“We encourage everyone to exercise caution in their behavior whether online or off,” they said.

Below is everything you need to know about this dangerous challenge:

How did the challenge start?

While Covid still lingers around the world, this challenge is a new way for people to get entertained on a budget. It is believed that it all started almost two weeks ago, quickly growing in popularity.

The video believed to be one of the first shows a man slowly trying to climb up a pyramid made of empty milk crates, and right before he gets to the highest part, his foot slips and the entire thing comes crumbling down.

Since then, this activity is being tried by many people across the world.

Which are the most popular videos so far?

There are thousands of videos of it on the web. But, the following are the ones that have garnered the most attention.

Where are people getting so many crates?

The most asked question is about where people are finding so many milk crates. Depending on the country, and the city, the milk crates are found in either supermarkets or bodegas.

Some people have also capitalised on this challenge and are selling such crates for less than a dollar in the US.

What are doctors saying about it?

Doctors have urged people not to take part in the “milk crate challenge”, warning that the potential injuries are “worse than falling from a ladder”.

Shawn Anthony, an orthopaedic surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York told the Washington Post that injuries from the challenge are comparable to high-speed skiing accidents.

“It’s perhaps even worse than falling from a ladder,” he said. “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.”

Chad Cannon, an emergency services doctor at the University of Kansas Medical Center, told New Straits Times that the challenge could leave people paralysed.

“You’re at risk for...hitting your head and getting a head bleed,” he said, adding: “you land on the milk crate, you will break your back and be paralysed.”

“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 Baltimore City health department tweeted on Monday.

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