‘Death threats’ after baby thrown into pool
An American mother has defended a video of her baby son being thrown into a pool during a swimming lesson which has been viewed tens of millions of times and sparked death threats.
Krysta Meyer, 27, shared the footage on her TikTok account last weekend of her eight-month-old Oliver during an infant survival class at Little Fins Swim School in Colorado Springs.
The instructor tosses the baby into the water before slipping in as he resurfaces and is seen clicking above his head as he floats on his back.
"Oliver amazes me every week," Ms Meyer captioned the video.
"I can't believe he is barely two months in and is catching on so fast. He is a little fish."
Watch the video in the player above
Ms Meyer said she had since been flooded with messages of all kinds.
One person said: "Dropped him in there like a bath bomb."
Another person commented: "Lil man's not swimming he's fighting for his life."
Ms Meyer later said on Facebook: "From companies asking to work with me rather it's advertising their products or from licensing my video to death threats. I hate social media."
Ms Meyer said she first downloaded the mobile video app TikTok in February as a joke.
She has more than 200,000 followers on her @mom.of.2.boyss account and the video of Oliver has been viewed 53.3 million times on the platform alone.
It has also been reposted after Ms Meyer said it was removed for "violating guidelines".
"Please do your research before reporting or removing," she said.
She wants to make a YouTube video "talking about swim class and why we do what we do".
"I will be taking some time off social media after this vlog because this is just fricken insane right now," she said on Sunday.
She told Motherly she understands that "it looks bad" and said the class was "not for everyone".
Little Fins co-owner Lauri Armstrong told Buzzfeed News they teach the tiny children to "assess their situation and find an exit strategy" in the specialised class.
"The whole premise behind what we do is safety," she said.
"I know it seems crazy."
Ms Armstrong said: "We don't throw babies in until we know they're ready."
She said the aim is to teach the children to flip over if they fall in and float on their backs.
"When kids fall into bodies of water, it's often not pretty," Ms Armstrong said.
"It's often very disorientating.
"They have to learn to come up and recover on their own."
On its Instagram page, the swim school said: "We are a leader in the fight against drowning."
One person said the video was "impressive" while another said the approach was "so wrong".
View this post on Instagram
@Overtime...thanks for posting Baby Oliver, who is 8 months old.💦 He's been working with @msjill_little_fins for 2 months to learn #infantsurvivalswimming at Little Fins Swim School! We are a leader in the fight against drowning! #nochilddrowns #Repost @overtime (@get_repost) ・・・ Hold up he’s 2 months old and can swim... I’m confused 🤔 @kmeyer26 . . . #learntoswim #drowningprevention #watersafety #learningtoswimsaveslives #ColoradoSprings #swimschool
Little Fins, which reopened on June 1 by appointment due to COVID-19, states the one-on-one, 30-minute infant survival lessons are for children aged six months to two years.
"Parents do not get in the pool. Your infant will learn to swim at Little Fins with our incredible infant survival instructors!" its website reads.
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under the age of four in the US, according to non-profit organisation Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning.
PPCD co-founder Jenny Bennett, whose 18-month-old drowned in a backyard pool in 2016, said the first time she saw the TikTok video she 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," she told Buzzfeed.
"That's very unrealistic and could potentially cause harm."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 10 people die every day from unintentional drowning in the US and "of these, two are children aged 14 or younger".
Originally published as 'Death threats' after baby thrown into pool