Social media users are shocked over a video of a baby being tossed without floaties into a swimming pool, where he is left to float to the top and lay on his back by himself.
Mother-of-two Krysta Meyer, 27, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, shared the video on TikTok on Saturday, showing the moment her eight-month-old son Oliver was thrown into a pool all by himself.
The video has gone on to be watched 75 million times across TikTok and Twitter, where some commenters have expressed horror over the treatment of the child — with some even sending Krysta death threats.
In ya go! Social media users are shocked over a video of a baby being tossed without floaties into a swimming pool, where he is left to float to the top and lay on his back by himself
Viral: Krysta Meyer, 27, from Colorado Springs shared the video on TikTok on Saturday, showing the moment her eight-month-old son Oliver was thrown into a pool all by himself
Krysta’s video shows a swim instructor holding Oliver above a pool as she stands along the outside.
In a swift motion, she tosses him into the water from several feet above, and he immediately sinks down below the surface.
The instructor quickly slides into the pool after him, but doesn’t move to pull him out of the water. Instead, she waits about five seconds for him to float up to the top on his own.
Cheers can be heard from onlookers, and the instructor snaps her fingers over Oliver while letting him float for a few more seconds before she lifts him into a hug.
‘Oliver amazes me every week!’ his mother captioned the clip. ‘I can’t believe he is barely 2 months in and is catching on so fast. He is a little fish.’
But while Krysta was amazed, viewers have had a range of different reactions.
Several have cracked jokes, even sharing the video on Twitter as a meme with lines like ‘me to my Lush bath bomb’ and ‘First year medical post-grad student’s orientation class during COVID19.’
Surprise! A trained instructor tossed him in the pool and then followed him in, but let him find his way to the surface himself
Anti-drowning: The clip as taken at an infant survival class at Little Fins Swim School, which is designed to teach babies survival skills meant to save their lives if they ever fall in a pool
Parenting: Krysta said she feels better knowing her kids have taken the class
But others have expressed horror over Oliver being thrown into the water that way, pointing out that it’s ‘all fun and games till it doesn’t float back up [sic]’ and might give Oliver anxiety for life.
Krysta is aware of the responses, and told BuzzFeed that several people have attacked her over the video.
‘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!”‘ she said.
‘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.’
But she added that this was taken at an infant survival class at Little Fins Swim School, which is designed to teach babies survival skills meant to save their lives if they ever fall in a pool.
‘The whole premise behind what we do is safety,’ Little Fins co-owner Lauri Armstrong told BuzzFeed. ‘We teach eight-month-olds to assess their situation and find an exit strategy [in water]. I know it seems crazy.’
He lived: At the end of the video, Oliver manages to float up on his back by himself
Questionable: The technique is used elsewhere but is still controversial
Survival: Babies are meant to tap into their survival instincts and learn to float on their own in case they ever fall in a pool without an adult around
Kids as young as six months can take the class, where each instructor has had months of training before they dive in. In this case, it was Armstrong’s own 18-year-old niece who threw Oliver in the water.
There are also several weeks of classes before the baby-throwing begins, where the children get comfortable in the water and learn to float and flip face-up.
But when they are finally thrown into the water, it’s supposed to be disorienting, as it would be if a child fell in accidentally.
‘When kids fall into bodies of water, it’s often not pretty. It’s often very disorientating,’ Armstrong added. ‘They have to learn to come up and recover on their own… But we don’t throw babies in until we know they’re ready.’
According to a 2015 Vox video, two American families lose a baby to drowning every day.
Olympian Bode Miller and his wife lost their 19-year-old daughter to a drowning accident in 2018. Country singer Granger Smith’s three-year-old son died from a similar accident in 2019.
Scarred? Some commenters have expressed horror over the clip, pointing out that it’s ‘all fun and games till it doesn’t float back up [sic]’ and might give Oliver anxiety for life
Wild: Others have cracked jokes and shared memes on Twitter
So some parents have taken to teaching their children to ‘swim’ — really just to float and roll over — from a very young age in an effort to prevent drowning deaths.
But techniques vary. Vox reports that Infant Swimming Resource, a network of certified instructors who teach babies aquatic survival skills, will also teach babies to flip themselves over if they are belly-down in the water — but the program’s executive director Ashleigh Bullivant told BuzzFeed that their ‘technique does not ever condone throwing a child into the water.’
A representative for CAST Water Safety Foundation of Illinois and the website for Infant Aquatic also both say that they don’t throw or force infants into water.
Some experts have also argued that such a technique can be harmful, with a UK report from 2017 arguing it was ‘traumatic.’
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), meanwhile, said there was no data backing up how effective these programs are; however, it does recommend swim lessons for any child over age one.
While the technique remains controversial, Krysta said she had also enrolled her older son in the class and feels ‘so much more comfortable’ to have her kids around water after getting the training.