The video was first uploaded on TikTok where it was viewed over 50 million times and then reposted on Twitter where it received over 20 million views.
A young woman is seen holding a baby in a viral clip before suddenly throwing him into the pool and climbing in after him. The baby who is dropped into the water can be seen floating to the surface a few moments later and continues to float on his back. Then the instructor is seen lifting the infant out of the pool. This video was first posted on the popular video-sharing app TikTok by the child's mother's Krista Meyers. After being viewed over 50 million times on the platform, the clip was reposted on Twitter and became a meme. Apart from its popularity, the video sparked an intense debate on whether or not this method of swimming lessons for babies was appropriate or not.
Sharing the video of her son's feat, Meyers wrote on TikTok: 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. Speaking to Buzzfeed News, the 27-year-old revealed that the clip was filmed on Saturday at the Little Fins Swim School, an infant survival swimming class, explaining the reason behind the seemingly traumatic toss into the water. "The whole premise behind what we do is safety," explained Little Fins co-owner Lauri Armstrong. "We teach 8-month-olds to assess their situation and find an exit strategy [in water]. I know it seems crazy."
OMG, this needs to be shut down. This poor child has no control and no idea what is happening next. It’s abusive. She holds all of the power in this situation. I am a former lifeguard and instructor, and I am shocked.— Deborah Diebel (@bluewaterjelly) June 23, 2020
Armstrong, who has been running the swim school for over seven years noted that the instructors undergo training for months before they are tasked with teaching this specialized class designed for kids who are just 6 months. She further explained that the class was not just about making babies comfortable in water but teaching them how to recover, flip over, and not panic if they ever fall into the water accidentally. She insisted that the highly trained instructors work at their own pace but assured that it was done in a controlled and safe environment.
When a kid falls in water it's not gonna be all gentle one foot at a time— 🍃•ℍ𝕒𝕛•🌌 (@topHajzz3) June 23, 2020
Unfortunately, the mother of two boys has been subjected to a lot of criticism and backlash for subjecting her infant to an activity that was deemed to be dangerous, traumatic, and counterproductive by many. "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!" shared the mom. "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."
Nonsense. What's next, push them into the road? It's cruel. A parent should protect their baby until they're old enough to learn not force them into fearing for their own life before their brain is developed enough to know what the hell is going on.— Lego Displayed Store (@displayedstore) June 25, 2020
People seem to be divided in opinion, with some claiming this method to be traumatic and dangerous, while others believe that these classes could indeed save lives. Although Armstrong accepted that the tossing of the baby could be a "shock factor" for bystanders, she defended the method saying that there's a very important reason behind this induced hysteria. "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." Furthermore, she added, "This definitely isn't something that just happens on the first lesson. We never know how a kiddo will fall into the water, so we want them to be ready however they fall in."
This type of training takes many months to reach this point. The child is taught to swim in different circumstances, it does not affect his health at all. The girl who throws him into the water is his coach. Do your research before saying that comment shit.✌🏼— Vayne (@VayneHB) June 22, 2020
But the co-founder of Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning, Jenny Bennett, considers Little Fins' method to be extreme as they were happening from "unrealistic heights." Speaking to the outlet, she said, "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." There's also a video of Meyers's older son Jayce being thrown into the pool upside down. This head-first throwing technique is meant to stimulate a situation that kids might experience if they accidentally fall off the boat.
This one is also on her account and I think the techno remix of seven nation army in the background adds a nice touch pic.twitter.com/1F4JXitmAs— Kel (@kelspot) June 21, 2020
But many swimming schools told BuzzFeed News that they don't use as much force as Little Fins employ while throwing the kids in the water. Meyers completely trusts Little Fins' methods and is content knowing that her kids would be equipped to handle themselves in case of an accident. She reiterated that the instructors at Little Fins are highly trained and requested untrained parents not to use this method by themselves to get their kids comfortable in water.