Krysta Meyer Colorado Springs mother causes social media controversy after uploading TikTok video of her baby son swimming lessons as commentators question methods.
A Colorado mother has been condemned by social media after TikTok video, showed a swimming instructor
gently ‘throwing’ her child into a pool as the mom (off-camera) seeks to teach her eight month old baby to swim. The video which was taken over the weekend has stirred debate over correct parenting protocol and by Wednesday night had been viewed over 75 million times.
Posted Krysta Meyer, 27, of Colorado Springs on Saturday, June 20, ‘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.’
The 7 second clip (yes folks, that’s all it takes these days to be loved or loathed) showed Oliver being thrown into a pool by a swimming pool instructor, who dives in after him. By the time she waddled over to Oliver, the baby had found his way to the surface and was paddling along on his back.
It ends with the swim instructor picking up Oliver and giving him a hug as his mother (off camera) is heard exclaiming with delight, praising the boy’s efforts. The video received over 100,000 comments, most of them by users who expressed shock at the technique by which the infant was being taught how to swim.
‘Dropped him in there like a bath bomb,’ one user wrote, while another commented, ‘Lil mans not swimming he’s fighting for his life.’ Told another, ‘If I was his mother, I would not be able to watch that.’
I can’t believe my video was shared on Barstools Twitter page 😳😳 https://t.co/4UrzJPVFiG
— Krysta Meyer (@KrystaM23333986) June 21, 2020
‘I’ve gotten death threats.’
Meyer later revealed to Buzzfeed in an interview: ‘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.’
Meyer clarified what the people did not know was that Oliver was not in an average swim class. He was being trained in an infant survival class in an institute called Little Fins.
‘The whole premise behind what we do is safety,’ said 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.’
Armstrong reiterated that the instructors are highly trained and worked with each infant at their individual pace in a safe and controlled environment. She did concede understanding the ‘shock factor’ for people watching Meyer’s video as they were encountering a baby getting tossed into the water. But there is an important reason why her instructors used the unconventional method.
Teaching children how to swim
‘When kids fall into bodies of water, it’s often not pretty. It’s often very disorientating,’ she added. ‘They have to learn to come up and recover on their own.’
Jenny Bennett, who co-founded Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning said she was not comfortable with a few ways babies were getting thrown into the water at Little Fins, as it’s being done from ‘unrealistic heights.’
‘The first time I saw [the TikTok], I thought it was shocking,’ she told Buzzfeed. ‘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.’
Controversial teaching method
However, Meyer defended her choice of the institute by saying she’s completely comfortable with the classes. ‘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.’
According to a 2015 Vox video, two American families lose a baby to drowning every day.
Of note, the Infant Swimming Resource, says they’ve taught more than 300,000 children since their ‘controversial’ method was developed more than 50 years ago and have documented some 800 cases where their taught skills have saved lives.