Everything you need to know about TikTok’s viral milk crate challenge, and why doctors are worried

The viral milk crate challenge has doctors worried.

The viral milk crate challenge has doctors worried. Photo: Supplied

It’s the latest case of ‘how bored do you have to be?’ And in the pandemic, the answer seems to be ‘extremely bored’.

Across the United States, the milk crate challenge, which started on TikTok, has got people risking serious injuries for a few moments of adrenalin.

To take part, participants climb a pyramid of stacked milk crates trying – and often failing – not to fall off.

Doctors are urging people to take the decades-old adage of ‘do not try this at home’ seriously as the challenge could result in lifelong injuries.

Unlike the ice bucket challenge, which raised money and awareness for Motor Neurone Disease (MND), this one is done purely for the glory.

US celebrities and even sports teams have jumped on the challenge, but following several reports of serious injury and backlash from doctors, TikTok has started removing the videos.

As the US health care system grapples with COVID cases, doctors across the country are pleading with people to find safer activities to amuse themselves.


Shawn Anthony, an orthopaedic surgeon in New York, told US news outlet Today that hospitals had seen a spike in admissions from the challenge.

“Emergency rooms across the country are already overcrowded and elective surgeries are being delayed or postponed due to lack of hospital beds,” Dr Anthony said.

“This social medial challenge puts unnecessary additional stress on our health system and health care providers.”

On Monday, the Baltimore city health department tweeted: “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.”

And, in a reply tweet to celebrity comedian Conan O’Brien, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned him not to do the challenge.

“Waiting for FDA approval before I take the Milk Crate Challenge,” O’Brien tweeted on Monday, a nod to the FDA approving Pfizer earlier in the week.

“Although we regulate milk, we can’t recommend you try that. Perhaps enjoy a nice glass of 2 per cent and return all those crates to the grocery store?” the FDA responded.

A company spokesperson for TikTok told Business Insider the platform “prohibits content that promotes or glorifies dangerous acts”.

“We remove videos and redirect searches to our Community Guidelines to discourage such content,” the spokesperson said.

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