Baby's water survival video divides viewers

The baby fell facedown before flipping onto her back.
The baby fell facedown before flipping onto her back.  Photo: YouTube

Is it responsible parenting, or is this baby being subjected to unnecessary distress?

That's the question dividing viewers after viewing a video of a six-month-old girl fending for herself in a swimming pool after being enticed to fall into the water.

US mum Keri Morrison had the clip of her daughter Josie filmed in a bid to raise awareness of water survival and "self saving" lessons for babies following the drowning death of her two-year-old son Jake in 2013.

In the video the infant is seen falling into the water and beginning to sink before she manages to flip on to on her back and begin floating with her face out of the water. The baby then appears to struggle to keep her head above water for the remainder of the 90-second video.

She is eventually picked up and taken out of the water by an adult.

More than 590,000 people have viewed the clip since it was uploaded to Facebook last week, and many people have praised Ms Morrison for showing it is never too early to teach babies vital water survival skills.

"Very impressive. I think it's incredible that little girl has been taught to swim so young. It doesn't take a baby long to learn. Congratulations parents," one supporter wrote.

"If you have a pool this is one of the best things you can teach. I'd rather have comfort knowing my kid could last a few minutes rather then drown the minute they get in pool. When you have to work and rely on someone else to watch your kid you can never be to safe," commented another.

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However, not everyone who viewed the clip has been as supportive, with many people saying they found the clip and the Josie's distress upsetting to watch. 

"A baby has zero reason to learn anything about the water at that age. They can barely control their limbs. It's the parents duty at that age to watch them like a hawk. A baby should NEVER be by or in a body of water without adults, period. So this is just not that well thought out," said one critic.

"This poor baby shouldn't be taught how to swim till there at least able to talk. Why do people think this is good? This child needs the comfort of a parent," wrote another.

Despite the criticism, Mrs Morrison has defended the video and her decision to teach her baby girl "self saving", saying she would do anything to ensure her daughter was safe from the type of tragedy which took her son's life.

Keri with her son Jake - and husband Roarke with their daughter - before Jake's drowning death. 

"To me, I'm protecting her and that is what a mother is supposed to do protect her," the mum told Fox News.

"I feel like I failed my son and I'm not going to fail my daughters.

"To see her face above the water at such a young age and know what to do. One of the things I really struggle with is that my son fell in the water not knowing what to do.

"And that thought and vision fires me up to make sure that not just my children but children all over are safe and can do this in the water."

Mrs Morrison and her husband Roarke have set up a Facebook page, Live Like Jake, to promote water safety in honour of their late son.