TikTok Issues Warning Against Milk Crate Challenge amid Reports of Injuries Across the Country
TikTok is putting its foot on the Milk Crate Challenge amid growing reports of injuries sustained while participating in the viral trend.
The challenge — which sees people climbing up and down an unsecured pyramid made out of milk crates, often ending in a catastrophic fall — gained popularity on the social media platform earlier in August.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday, a TikTok spokesperson says that the app "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 behavior whether online or off," the spokesperson adds.
TikTok's statement about the Milk Crate Challenge comes as doctors and health officials are issuing warnings of their own over its potential dangers.
"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.
When Conan O'Brien joked that he was waiting for the Food and Drug Administration to approve the trend before attempting it, the agency replied on Twitter, "Although we regulate milk, we can't recommend you try that. Perhaps enjoy a nice glass of 2% and return all those crates to the grocery store?"
George Gantsoudes, an orthopedic surgeon in Virginia, shared an example of the challenge on wrong on Twitter, noting that "surgeries required to fix problems caused by this may fall under the umbrella of 'elective surgeries.' "
However, some hospitals are already seeing injuries associated with the Milk Crate Challenge.
In Dallas, a woman injured herself while taking part in the risky viral trend, the city's Police Chief Eddie Garcia told WFAA.
According to WSB-TV, an Atlanta-area medical worker saw on Sunday at least two people who had broken or fractured bones after falling of the crates.
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Henry Schuitema, the chief of emergency medicine at Jefferson Health in New Jersey, told The Washington Post that his hospital saw one patient with suffered several fractured ribs due to the Milk Crate Challenge.
"So many of these injuries we're seeing are preventable just by being intelligent," Schuitema said. "If you catch a corner of one of those crates, it's going to be problematic. It looks like something funny, but real people are getting real injuries."