A week ago, a video was released at TikTok in which a swimming teacher threw an 8-month-old baby into a swimming pool in the United States. It was a course at the swimming school called “Baby Survival School”.
The video quickly garnered tens of millions of views. It provoked debate not only in the United States but also in Finland.
Anneli Toivonen, the Finnish Swimming Education and Lifesaving Association's baby and family swimming education planner, says that TikTok's video sparked a debate in Finland among both instructors and parents.
Watch the throw in the video above.
- Some baby swimming instructors were asked by customers that I don't think babies are swimming like this in Finland.
Toivonen assures that here the starting points for baby swimming are completely different than in the video survival school.
- We start from the premise that everything is done on the terms of a child.
He says that in Finland, babies can also be taught water safety skills, but then the baby's own will and level of development are carefully taken into account.
- The idea is that nothing can be done if the child does not want it himself.
According to Toivonen, the teaching method shown in the video is problematic for several reasons.
- There is nothing child-centered or based on observing the baby's abilities. The 8-month-old does not have the capacity to throw into the water. Then we still practice sitting and teasing and look for legs under the body.
- In addition, the baby was tossed into the water quite high in relation to his size and head and body control.
In the video a swimming school teacher throw 8-month-old baby pool adult height of about half a meter. The teacher then jumps into the pool himself.
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- Of course, the instructor jumps after the baby, but it is not a defense or that the exercise has been done before, Toivonen points out.
The video shows how a baby, after falling into the water, rises to the surface and turns on his back.
- In the eyes of many, a baby shows that he may not react badly, but we still don't know what the baby's right feeling is. I would bet he is by no means lucky to be oval for such an exercise.
- Yes, it's always a little scary when you see that the child's will is not taken into account, Toivonen describes the feelings evoked in the video.
On the other hand, he says he understands the fears of American parents.
- In a way, I understand that it is a response to the parents' cry for distress when they are afraid that the child will be in their own or a neighbor's pool. There are really a lot of those pools out there. I understand that this is also something someone out there then buys.
According to Toivonen, the fact that the child has no opportunity to influence the educational situation may traumatize the child.
- We see videos of successful situations, but in reality we don’t know how many with this succeed and how many traumatized babies leave the same coping school.
Instead of teaching the baby to survive in the water simply by tapping him in the pool, according to Toivonen, the baby should be taught by gradually increasing his independence.
- In Finland, for example, diving is taught with small exercises related to increasing the child's independence. Initially, the baby is taught to turn toward the edge where he or she has started to dive or be caught by an adult.
- When the feet are found, the baby is taught to put his feet on the bottom and get up safely in an upright position in the water.