Over 100 Teens Found Stuck in Kids' Swing Sets As Part of Bizarre TikTok Trend

TikTok, the video-sharing app popular with young people around the world, is awash with unlikely crazes and trends. But in the unending hunt for social media likes, some teenagers have been creating problems for the emergency services in London.

On May 11 the London Fire Brigade released a statement warning against a craze that sees young people "forcing themselves into toddlers' swings and getting stuck, linked to the fad on the video-sharing site."

The fire department said there had been "21 incidences of people stuck in swings" in the U.K.'s capital so far this year.

According to the brigade, the TikTok trend was at its height last year, when there were 52 reports, but it has increased in popularity again in recent weeks.

Thirty-two incidents were reported in 2019, bringing the total to 105 in just under two-and-a-half years.

On May 1, firefighters were called to a park in Ruislip, west London, to assist a 14-year-old girl who had become trapped in a swing.

The crew had to dismantle the swing and then expand it using pressure around where the girl was stuck, so they could free her.

The teenager was not injured and the firefighters were able to reassemble the swing.

The first responders, from Ruislip Fire Station's Green Watch, spotted that the incident was being filmed by the girls' friends.

There were 12 similar incidents in the city in April, including one at a playground in Sutton, south London, where firefighters had to rescue a teenager while being filmed by a group of young people.

Free crews will sometimes have to use cutting equipment to free trapped people, which carries a risk of injury and means the play equipment can no longer be used.

In their quest for #TikTok fame #London teenagers have been forcing themselves into toddlers’ swings and getting stuck - ending in a call out to firefighters to rescue them. Please think twice so you don't divert our crews from more serious incidentshttps://t.co/Lr96LsgMT3 pic.twitter.com/ezRCMg1pLm

— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) May 11, 2021

The brigade's assistant commissioner for fire stations, Jane Philpott, said: "Our firefighters attend a wide variety of challenging incidents and far be it from us to judge the precarious positions some people find themselves in.

"But in their quest for TikTok fame, people have been potentially diverting our crews from more serious incidents and that isn't something we want to see.

"Each job our firefighters do attend takes time and we are hoping to prevent further callouts to such incidents by issuing this warning."

She added: "We would ask people to please just think twice before taking part in this challenge—think of the injuries you could cause yourself, the damage to the swings which have to be cut apart and, most of all, the fact you're tying up resources which could be needed for a genuine emergency.

"It might be a fun story for your friends, but wasting the time of emergency services is serious."

Although this challenge does not violate their community guidelines, a TikTok spokesperson told Newsweek: "Promoting a positive and safe app environment for our community is a top priority for TikTok.

"Our Community Guidelines clearly outline that we do not allow content that encourages, promotes, or glorifies dangerous activities that might lead to injury."

Other potentially dangerous trends that have circulated on the platform include the "blackout challenge," which was linked to the death of a 10-year-old girl in Italy in January.

The challenge encourages users to hold their breath or restrict their airflow until they lose consciousness.

The "eye challenge" came under fire in 2019 for encouraging TikTok users to put bleach near their eyes.

The "scalp popping" trend of 2020 challenged people to twist a piece of hair on the crown of someone's head around their fingers and pull upwards, producing a "popping" effect on their scalp.

Social media users reported feeling pain or even losing patches of hair when they tried the challenge, and doctors warned against it.

TikTok's latest transparency report, which covers the second half of 2020, revealed that it had removed 89,132,938 videos worldwide for violating its community guidelines or terms of service. This is less than 1 percent of the videos on the site. In the U.S. alone, 11,775,777 clips were taken down.

05/17/21 03.00 a.m. ET: This story has been updated to include comment from TikTok.

Firefighter
Stock image of a firefighter with his head in his hands. London's fire department has issued a warning about a TikTok trend of teenagers wedging themselves into toddlers' swings and getting stuck. Getty Images