Footage of a baby left gasping for air as she attempts to swim in a paddling pool has sparked a heated debate on social media.
The two-minute clip posted to Facebook begins with the 6-month-old tot attempting to grab a sandal that is floating in front of her in a swimming pool.
A woman who is holding the shoe uses it as a way to entice the child – waving it in front of the young girl tauntingly.
As the tot reaches out to take the shoe, she shockingly falls off her step head first into the water.
The baby then bobs for several seconds face down before beginning to flail her arms and legs in an effort to keep her head above water.
She struggles to float as her head is nearly submerged entirely underwater.
This carries on for a further 20 seconds before the woman finally picks the baby up, lifting her out of the water.
The video was uploaded by a user named “Dov” but it is unclear who the family in the clip are or if the featured woman is the child’s mum.
The clip has been shared nearly 8,000 times with over 3,000 users vocalising their thoughts.
Some commend the way the baby is taught how to swim while others have condemned it for being a cruel display of bad parenting.
One user wrote: “This baby has obviously gone through infant safety self rescue classes.
“To pass they need to not only be able to back float like this child but also do it fully clothed in jackets and boots.
“I don’t see this as cruel.”
Erin Rusch decides to go for the Switzerland approach with a neutral: “Mixed emotions!
“Good to teach young ones yes, but so upsetting watching her struggle, and clearly not like it!”
There are an abundance of infant swimming resource centres online that teach children as young as six months to survive in water – using the “roll and float method”.
Mom Keri Morrison appeared on Fox & Friends on Saturday and defended the video of her 13-month-old.
“My son is no longer here because he didn’t have these skills,” she said. “To me, I’m protecting her, 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.”
Now Morrison has enrolled her daughters in Infant Swimming Resource (ISR), which was founded in 1966 by Dr. Harvey Barnett, and teaches infants to “self-rescue,” a technique the company says has saved more than 800 lives. The babies are taught to hold their breath, float, and roll over without sinking. Typical lessons are 10 minutes long.
“The first thing we establish in our lessons is breath control, so before that child ever goes underwater, I know that that child can safely hold their breath.” Stacy van Santen, a certified instructor with ISR told NBC’s Today show.
Morrison said she wants her daughter to know what to do if she falls into the water, and seeing her face above the water at a young age gives her hope.
“That vision is what fires me up to make sure that other children are safe and can do this in the water,” Morrison said.
“Do I expect my daughter at that young of an age to be alone near the water? No,” assured Morrison. “But the layers of protection can fail. Supervision failed. It failed with my son and it can happen and I just want my daughters to be as safe as possible.
“No one plans on losing their kid in a drowning, said Morrison. “It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere.”