The mother of the baby stated that this is an infant survival class
A Tik Tok video posted by a 27-year-old mom, Krista Meyer, has gone viral. The video in question involves her 8-month-old son, Oliver, being tossed into the pool by a swim instructor, and has racked over 51 million views, reports Buzzfeed News.
I don’t think they should do this in front of other kids. They don’t understand what the consequences could be if they did it without Mom— Margaret Thomas (@Maggie1715) June 26, 2020
The video quickly stirred up a fiery debate on whether this method of teaching babies how to swim is the right thing to do or not. Meyer captioned her video thus: "Oliver amazes me every week! I can't believe he is barely two months in and is catching on so fast. He is a little fish." In the video, we see the baby being tossed into the water, and then the instructor steps into the pool while waiting for the baby to surface after a few seconds, which he does. She then snaps her fingers above him letting him float for a bit, before carrying him out of it and hugging him at a swimming school called Little Fins.
There are people who weren't thrown into water like this as babies? I was, 35 yrs ago, I'm a great swimmer. That wouldn't have been the first time that baby was put in water and professionals are there. Learning how to survive/swim is essential for some, even as a baby.— Tippy W (@twistedtippy) June 24, 2020
"The whole premise behind what we do is safety," Little Fins co-owner Lauri Armstrong said. "We teach 8-month-olds to assess their situation and find an exit strategy [in water]. I know it seems crazy." However, Armstrong was emphatic that her swim instructors are trained for months to teach this sort of specialized class, which is not just about making young kids feel comfortable in water but also teaching them how to recover and not panic if they fall in, and learn to float on their back.
These swim classes for babies are actually incredible and lifesaving. They start them as infants so if they accidentally fall in they can instinctually float and have the skills and muscle memory. Check out Infant Swimming Resource and CAST WATER SAFETY FOUNDATION.— elizabeth fisher (@elsifish) June 21, 2020
Meanwhile, Meyer has received some fiery criticism and intense backlash on social media for her actions, including some threats of violence. Several users said that she was subjecting her baby to a class that was traumatic. She said, "A lot of people are seeing a kid being thrown into the water and thinking, That's not good! You shouldn't be doing that! I've gotten death threats. I've had people tell me I'm the worst kind of mom, that I'm endangering my children, that I'm traumatizing them." She added, "I have them in swim classes in a controlled environment and with certified instructors," she said. "I feel so much more comfortable about my kids being around water and they can have that fighting chance to survive. I have my kids' best interests in mind."
Jenny Bennett, the cofounder of Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning noted that these tosses were happening from "unrealistic heights." "The first time I saw [the TikTok], I thought it was shocking," she said. "It's not too high where the child is dropped into the water, but I've seen some at this facility where the child is held upside down and dropped in. That's very unrealistic and could potentially cause harm."
this exercise might create a traumatic experience for babies and toddlers who don’t know what the point of the exercise is, and potentially cause them to avoid water and swimming later. there’s no way kids THIS young are going to be left unsupervised by a body of water anyway?!!!— liaaaaaAaAAAAaAAAA (@hiraethjimin) June 22, 2020
Some turned this into a meme.
Me dipping my wings in ranch pic.twitter.com/iUFElZaaEb— BlackCultureEntertainment🗣 (@4TheCulture____) June 21, 2020