A now viral video showing a 14-month-old baby being thrown into a swimming pool as part of a “surprise float test” has caused controversy among commentators.
The video was posted to TikTok on March 11 by the baby’s mother, Simone Christensen, who wrote, “I know it looks scary, but these lessons help her save herself in an emergency!” The post has racked up over 52 million views and over 4 million likes.
It also got about 62,000 comments from viewers, who disagreed on whether or not babies should be subjected to flotation tests.
“Watch my 14-month-old pass her surprising float test,” read the video’s text overlay.
In the video, an adult takes Christensen’s daughter, who is fully clothed, and throws her into a swimming pool. However, the toddler is left to his own devices, even though she was supervised.
Within seconds the child manages to get her head above water, but accidentally flips backwards and gets stuck upside down. Eventually the child floats on her back to the surface of the water.
Some of Christensen’s commentators criticized the float test, calling it “wrong.”
“Wrong wrong wrong on so many levels,” wrote lyndsey.jt.
“Bro, that’s fighting for your life, that’s not a lesson,” said Franko Deita.
“ABSOLUTELY NOT,” noted Jade Blanchard.
“She’s a baby for God’s sake. How? [you] expect her to know what’s going on and what to do or understand?” Rachel asked.
In response to the comment, Christensen explained that her daughter had taken swimming lessons for five months before the test.
“You guys really don’t seem to understand the part where this is a ONE-TIME test after 5 months of regular classes,” she wrote in the comment section of the post.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “[a]All parents and children over the age of 1 should learn to swim.”
“Your child should learn basic swimming skills: enter the water, come to the surface, turn around, move at least 25 meters through the water and be able to exit the water,” according to the AAP. While swimming lessons don’t make any child “drownable”, they can add “a layer of protection” for children, including those who are at higher risk of drowning.
However, when it comes to surprising float tests, Dr. Andrew J. Bernstein, a pediatrician and fellow of the AAP, said he doesn’t think these tests are “safe or advisable” for babies.
†[T]here is a significant risk [of] water enters the lungs when a baby doesn’t hold his or her breath long enough or at the right time,” Bernstein said paternal. “This can lead to a lack of oxygen to the brain, pneumonia or death.”
news week contacted the AAP for updated guidance but did not hear back in time for publication.
Still, some commentators applauded the float test.
“Great class for babies who can make it [their lives]said no more.
“Well done parents. If she happens to fill in when you’re not there, she knows what to do,” wrote Vetteygirl00.
Self-proclaimed emergency room nurse, how_bri_sees, added: “[T]he could save so many children. Start early.”
news week contacted Christensen for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.
Christensen isn’t the first mom to go viral for a divisive parenting decision. In November, a mother sparked a debate online after telling her 10-year-old daughter never went to school. Also in November, a mother went viral on TikTok after sharing that her baby’s bedtime was midnight. And in 2019, a debate ensued in the comment section of a video that showed a teen I sign reading “I Lied” at a busy Florida intersection.