milk crate challenge

The internet is no stranger to crazy, silly and often dangerous challenges. To this day everyone still remembers the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Tide Pod Challenge, not to mention all the injuries and illnesses they caused. But now there’s a new challenge sweeping the internet.

The Milk Crate Challenge: What is it?

The “Milk Crate Challenge” involves stacking empty milk crates in triangles or pyramids with the sides intended to be stairs. Countless videos have flooded TikTok (who has now banned videos of the challenge) of people climbing up the structure, often with huge triumphant grins when they reach the top.

All of this happens, only to have the crates collapse underneath them with the person landing painfully on top of the massive pile of crates.

Doctors are urging people not to try the challenge, as it is incredibly dangerous. Injuries ranging from dislocated shoulders to broken wrists and even spinal cord injuries have occured, but even businesses are starting to jump on the Milk Crate bandwagon.

Businesses Owners Use Challenge as a Publicity Stunt

A restaurant and a cafe in Toronto have both been seen to post pictures of the crate structures with captions suggesting the stunt had been attempted and/or pulled off. Amid backlash from the community about the dangers of the challenge, both business owners have come out and said that the photos were a publicity stunt and no employees attempted the challenges. No posts have been found by either business promoting that viewers attempt the challenge.

Public Stunts Cause Serious Safety Hazards

The Milk Crate challenge may have started out as a joke among friends, but it has spread like wildfire, landing many in the hospital with serious injuries. Businesses that choose to promote dangerous stunts like the Milk Crate challenge run the risk of backlash from concerned parents and community members for promoting dangerous stunts that are a public safety risk.

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Many concerned citizens are seeing this dangerous craze as picking up where the equally dangerous Tide Pod Challenge left off as a funny internet meme turned public safety hazard. Doctors also warn that injuries sustained from the challenge are putting more stress on already overwhelmed hospitals and emergency rooms.

What Doctors Are Saying

Orthopedic surgeon Shawn Anthony at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York had this to say about the milk crate challenge: “Everyone needs to do their part in supporting first responders and healthcare providers, and that involves not partaking in challenges like this one that are putting an additional strain on the system.”

Injury Repairing Surgeries May be Deemed Elective

What many people may not know is that some of the surgeries required to fix some of the injuries doctors are seeing are considered elective procedures. Pediatric orthopedic surgeon George Gantsoudes from Virginia posted an example of the challenge going wrong with a warning attached saying “The surgeries required to fix problems caused by this fall may fall under the umbrella of ‘elective surgeries.’ Might not want to tempt the trauma gods if you live south of the Mason-Dixon.”

When it comes to social media challenges, the message from doctors and concerned parents and citizens alike is clear: keep them coming, keep them funny, but keep them safe. The Milk Crate Challenge is not safe, so don’t risk it.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.