You might have seen a TikTok video that shows a baby being tossed into a pool by his swim instructor. The video is jarring, and there are outraged parents all over the world as a result of watching it.
However, it turns out that the real story behind the video is very compelling, and even offers an alternative way to teach children water safety.
Krysta Meyer is the 27-year-old mom of two boys who posted the video originally. She explains that her eight-month-old son, Olivier, has been taking swim lessons at Little Fins Swim School for two months.
In the video, little Oliver is tossed into the pool by his instructor.
Oliver amazes me every week! I can’t believe he is barely 2 months in and is catching on so fast. He is a little fish. #baby #swim
People immediately had big reactions to the TikTok.
While some were worried about Oliver’s safety, others made jokes.
Me dipping my wings in ranch pic.twitter.com/iUFElZaaEb
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Krysta says that she understands why the video freaks people out.
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.
However, Lauri Armstrong, the co-owner of the swim school, says that there’s a reason they teach water survival skills to infants this way.
We teach 8-month-olds to assess their situation and find an exit strategy [in water].
I know it seems crazy.
Lauri also explained why the school uses a method that feels jarring for many parents.
When kids fall into bodies of water, it’s often not pretty.
It’s often very disorientating.
They have to learn to come up and recover on their own.
Many experts point out that if a child is old enough to crawl at home, they are old enough to accidentally crawl into a pool.
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Liittle Maddie is 18 months old and has been water safe since she was about a year. She can float with ease. ??? Good job Maddie and @mrs.nichole_littlefins #infantsurvivalswimming #nochilddrowns @no.child.drowns #learntoswim #drowningprevention #watersafety #wesavelives #swimsafe #selfrescue
Since many children begin crawling around six months of age, it makes sense to learn water safety.
Still… can you imagine being a kid and doing this?
one of the best decisions I ever made was putting Jayce in swim classes. Gives me a peace of mind my child is safe around water.
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While the method can make some parents nervous, others are fully supportive.
Jenny Bennett, one of the founders of Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning, lost her 18-month-old in a drowning accident.
She echoes the idea that children who can crawl should learn water safety, but she does concede that the height from which the infants at Little Fins are dropped feels unrealistic.
The first time I saw [the TikTok], I thought it was shocking. 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 is an example of an unrealistic scenario. If a child is in this position, it would not be an accident, it would be considered a homicide.
What do you think of the video and of the school’s methods? Make sure you let us know in the comments!