Doctors beg: Please don’t do the TikTok Milk Crate Challenge

  • A new social media trend sees people walking over a pyramid of milk crates - and usually hurting themselves
  • Health officials say you could be at risk for becoming paralysed, and that hospitals are already overwhelmed because of Covid-19
Agence France-Presse |

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A man falls off a pyramid of milk crates while he participates in the Milk Crate Challenge. Some doctors are warning that the injuries from the challenge are putting more stress on hospitals at a time when emergency rooms are overwhelmed because of the coronavirus. Photo: AFP

Health experts have warned that people should not attempt the latest viral challenge - walking over a pyramid of precariously balanced milk crates.

TikTok and other social media sites have been flooded in recent days by videos of people in the United States and beyond trying - and mostly failing - the climb the crates.

Most videos end with what looks like a painful fall onto the collapsing crates or the ground.

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“You’re at risk for … hitting your head and getting a head bleed,” said Dr. Chad Cannon, an emergency room doctor at the University of Kansas Health System in the US.

If “you land on the milk crate, you will break your back and be paralysed.”

Baltimore City Health, in the US state of Maryland, pointed out that hospitals are already under strain from the pandemic.

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“With Covid-19 hospitalisations 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 official account tweeted.

While the hashtag was readily searchable on Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday, searches on TikTok returned no results.

“This phrase may be associated with behaviour or content that violates our guidelines. Promoting a safe and positive experience is TikTok’s top priority,” the search result page said.

The dog does not approve. Photo: AFP

The videos - and photographs of some appalling injuries - reminded some of an earlier internet sensation that had doctors tearing their hair out: the Tide Pod challenge in 2018, when people would bite into liquid laundry detergent packets.

Some social media users pointed out the likelihood that not all of those appearing in these videos in the United States would get free medical treatment.

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Others commented on the willingness of people to attempt something so obviously dangerous, while many in the US still think the coronavirus jab is unsafe.

“You’ll do the milk crate challenge but will not get the vaccine. Got it,” quipped ‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei.

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