Warning: Footage of the woman’s training might be disturbing to some viewers.
A Russian swimming coach was accused of abusing babies after videos of her methods went viral, but some parents have defended her, saying that she has worked “miracles” with their children.
Elena Rodionova, according to the Daily Mail, has claimed to cure children’s disabilities by forcing babies head-first into the water before tossing them around a pool.
Critics claim the babies cannot breathe when she places them in the water, risking permanent damage.
But one parent, named Olga, said the coach, who is based in the city of Krasnodar, works miracles.
“She taught my child a great deal but I never argue with her,” The Sun quoted the mom as saying. “My child with cerebral palsy began to walk… If you do not know Elena, you do not know what miracles she performs.”
She said that she will “be grateful to her for the rest of my life,” adding that “all coaches need to work in this way, and not just splash water.”
Another woman, Ella Starkova, said her baby began swimming by herself after spending about 18 months with Rodionova.
Starkova claimed, “Our child swims independently, pulls up, refuses to leave the pool.”
Another parent claimed the coach was “sent by God” to help children.
But footage of the woman’s methods, after having gone viral, was denounced by commenters.
“This woman is evil,” one person wrote on Facebook, according to 7News. “Only a sadist would do this to a child.”
Others accused Rodionova of torturing the babies.
Meanwhile, other child swimming coaches, have criticized her.
“She believes that she makes the child stronger, more enduring,” Oksana Zarevina, a coach, was quoted by the Mail as saying. “But when a child is two or three months old, they do not understand what is being done with them.”
Zarevina said the babies are not able to inform the parents that they don’t like her exercises.
Another coach in Russia, Natalia Kostromina, said the babies should feel love.
“Kids can be taught everything with the help of soft, gentle workouts that are comfortable,” the Mail quoted her as saying. What’s more, she said, “tossing babies in this way should be prohibited.”
“Many coaches who see Elena’s videos worry about the health of these kids,” she noted.
A doctor, pediatrician and neonatologist Elena Ignatieva, issued a warning after the video went viral.
“Such actions with a child should not be allowed,” she said. “They can lead to health and psychological impairment of the child’s development.”
Ignatieva said there is a risk of “inhaling under water and hypoxic brain hemorrhages. In the future children can develop kinetosis (motion sickness).”
“And this is only a small part of what such rough lessons can lead to. The purpose of such manipulations is incomprehensible to me. They do not develop or stimulate anything,” she claimed, adding that officials should ban her from training babies.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): ” Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Supervisors of preschool children should provide ‘touch supervision,’ be close enough to reach the child at all times. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.”