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Explained: What is the ‘milk crate challenge’, and why have doctors expressed concern over it?

Milk crate challenge: Doctors are calling the social media trend a public health hazard because of the swelling number of people coming to emergency rooms to treat injuries from the task.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 31, 2021 10:00:37 am
After several doctors expressed concerns over its potential dangers, the challenge was purged from its servers by TikTok, but still remains up on Facebook and Twitter.

The ‘milk crate challenge’, an injurious new trend that brings back memories of the equally regrettable ‘tide pod challenge’, has swept social media in the US and left doctors concerned.

The viral task involves stacking milk crates into a pyramid-shaped wall, then trying to climb to the top from one side and proceeding to descend towards the other while balancing the crates underneath–most often ending in funny but dangerous falls.

After several doctors expressed concerns over its potential dangers, the challenge was purged from its servers by TikTok, but still remains up on Facebook and Twitter.

Why the ‘milk crate challenge’ has sparked concern

Over the month of August, the task became highly popular on social media, especially in the US, with users trying it out in their backyards, at parties, and even gender reveal events, as per a USA Today report.

Because of the instability of the milk crates, the challenge ends up in most people tumbling down, and doctors are now calling it a public health hazard because of the swelling number of people coming to emergency rooms to treat injuries from the task.

As per a Washington Post report, hospitals across the US have seen challenge participants coming in with a range of injuries, including shoulder dislocations and rotator-cuff tears, ACL and meniscus tears, broken wrists and even spinal-cord injuries.

Another reason medical professionals have appealed to the American public to not attempt the challenge is that it is adding to their burden at a time when coronavirus cases and deaths from the Delta variant are shooting up in many parts of the country, and that many hospitals are understaffed.

It was because of these concerns that TikTok– which although banned in India is still legal in most other parts of the world, including the US – decided to remove content related to the challenge. It also released a statement saying, “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 off”.

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