London Fire Brigade has urged teenagers hoping for TikTok notoriety to stop using swings designed for toddlers after a surge in rescues in recent months.
The service says it has been called to 21 incidents in the capital this year after youngsters forced themselves into the under-sized metal frames – only to become trapped and in need of calling 999.
Last week, firefighters had to dismantle a swing at a play park in Ruislip to help a 14-year-old girl who was jammed in.
The firefighters who came to her aid said they were conscious of being filmed by the girl’s friends but they hadn’t previously been aware of the “challenge”.
While the trend began last year, the brigade said there has been a surge in cases recently and other fire services have recorded similar rise in call-outs.
Last year, firefighters assisted 52 people stuck in swings and 32 in 2019.
Jane Philpott, London’s assistant commissioner for fire stations, 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 call outs 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.”