A Florida mom is under fire after a video of her six-month-old baby struggling to learn to swim went viral. But she sees nothing wrong with the situation.
In the two-minute clip, Keri Morrison’s daughter Josie is seen sitting on the steps of a pool. After being enticed by a floating slipper, the baby girl falls into the water head first. No one helps Josie as she struggles to float herself upright.
The video was posted to Facebook by a user named Dov. “So hard to watch but every kid should learn this young!” he wrote in the caption.
On Facebook, users were quick to express their outrage over the method the parents chose to teach their daughter to swim. “I can't f-ing watch this,” one said. “This woman is crazy!!!! I am so annoyed.”
“Totally ok to teach a baby to swim but this shit is cruel,” another added. “Look how long they let her float she was obviously panicking becuz (sic) she was trying to cry.”
Others had mixed emotions: “I think that it is great to teach your child at a young age on how to float, but this video was reckless and dangerous. Baby is only 6 months old. She could've hit her head on the steps, the person taking video didn't have there (sic) hands available at all times, and baby looked scared to death!”
“She falls in and she turns over and saves herself and floats for over a minute and a half. I don't see how there could be anything negative about that.”
In response to the backlash, mom Morrison told Today.com that she sees nothing wrong with teaching her baby how to swim this way.
“You're seeing a 6-month-old sitting on the steps playing, which can be a real life situation,” the mom said. “She falls in and she turns over and saves herself and floats for over a minute and a half. I don't see how there could be anything negative about that.”
According to NY Daily News, Morrison was determined to teach her daughter how to swim after her two-year-old son Jake drowned in 2013. Morrison and her husband Roarke are now strong advocates of the Infant Self-Rescue (ISR) technique, which helps babies learn how to float by themselves.
Ashleigh Bullivant, of Infant Swimming Resource, told News.com.au that this “self-save” technique is taught during 10-minute lessons over four weeks.
“Our students at ISR are taught everything incrementally in a very gentle way and honours the way they learn physically,” she explained. “They are taught breathing exercises with the aim of eventually being able to hold their breath.”
"To me, I’m protecting [my daughter], and that’s what a parent is supposed to do."
Morrison strongly believes that her son died because he “didn’t have these skills.” Thus, she enrolled her baby girl in the swimming program.
In regards to the video, the 39-year-old mom told Fox News: “To me, I’m protecting [my daughter], and that’s what a parent is supposed to do— to protect her child— and I feel like I failed my son, and I’m not going to fail my daughter.”
Despite the harsh criticism, some Facebook users did come to the mom’s defense. “Why are some of you people so damn stupid, nothing about this video was cruel. It showed something that every baby should be taught,” one wrote.
Another said: “Child was not in any danger. There were obviously adults around and the baby was doing well. Great parenting. Showing others how this teaching can save lives.”
According to Canadian Red Cross statistics, more than 570 children have drowned in Canada from 2001 to 2010. Their report also states that children aged one to four are twice as likely to drown as children aged 10 to 14.
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