What Is the Milk Crate Challenge? The Social Media Craze Actually Poses Some Serious Health Risks
Potential consequences include head, neck, and abdominal injuries, as well as bone fractures.
Social media has seen its fair share of challenges over the years. There was the one where people snorted condoms up their nose, the one where people took large amounts of Benadryl to "trip," and the one where people ate food with its packaging still on. Now we have the one where people try to walk on stacks of milk crates—and you can't go on social media without seeing jokes, memes, and videos about it.
It's known as the Milk Crate Challenge, and the goal is basically for someone to walk across milk crates that have been stacked up in a pyramid. The tallest stack of milk crates—the top of the pyramid—is usually seven milk crates high. Once a person reaches the top, they then have to walk down the other side of the pyramid.
Here's what it looks like in action, when completed successfully (note, most people don't do it in heels):
But as you can probably guess, most of the Milk Crate Challenge videos are "fail" videos, like this one:
As people have started to circulate these videos on social media, jokes and memes have started to go around, as well.
All kidding aside, the Milk Crate Challenge can actually lead to some serious injuries. And because of that, Leticia Ryan, MD, MPH, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore tells Health that she recommends steering clear of this challenge.
"Given the height and awkward angles of the falls, as well as the impact with the milk crates during falls, potential physical harms could include bone fractures, head injuries, neck injuries, and abdominal injuries," she says.
And while she herself has not treated any patients who have been injured as a result of the Milk Crate Challenge, Dr. Ryan does know other medical professionals who report treating people who have tried it.
That has been the source of concern among some social media users, with people pointing out that hospitals are already crowded due to the pandemic. In fact, right now "some hospitals are treating more COVID-19 patients than ever before," according to The Wall Street Journal. It's because of this that some are calling out how people who injure themselves while trying to attempt the challenge might put more (avoidable) stress on the health care system during a time when those essential facilities and staff are already stretched too thin.
"This is an interesting connection and reasonable to keep in mind," Dr. Ryan says. "That said, as a pediatric emergency medicine physician, I encourage avoiding challenges or taking unnecessary risks like this that could result in serious injuries, regardless of COVID."
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