This clip may be less than a minute long, but it has definitely inspired a monster wave of controversy as people debate whether or not it is safe.
A viral video of a mom and toddler swimming with dolphins is creating quite a stir online. The footage, which was posted to Facebook by Red Sea Diving Safari in Egypt, shows the 2-and-a-half-year-old free diving among the animals in the Red Sea, with his mama close by.
The child is clearly a very capable swimmer. He rises to the surface of the water on his own to take a breath, then returns to frolic with the dolphins. Both mom and child wear flippers and goggles. At times, the little one also holds on to his mother as she glides through the water.
It's a magical 54 seconds, which have been viewed 2.8 million times at time of writing. But despite trained divers being filmed near the young boy and his mom, many commenters expressed concerns over the safety of such an exercise. "This should not have been accepted! Anything could have gone wrong!" one wrote.
The Red Sea Diving Safari was quick to defend itself, writing in response that "the decision to let this family go was not taken lightly." In fact, the mom is a professional free-diving instructor, who was traveling with three other instructors, according to the RSDS. "This child has been in the sea pretty much since birth," the response continued. "The diving centre passed the decision to the village management, who then passed the decision to senior RSDS management, who sat with the parents to discuss it and saw previous videos and footage of the child's ability to swim and free dive."
It was noted that safety is always the top concern. In another comment, the RSDS noted that the many jellyfish present at the time the video was shot are "moon jellyfish and they are very common here and harmless."
Another comment pointed out how many people are apt to rush to judgment without knowing the facts: "Some of the comments here show just how little people know about things and how quickly people jump to judgement [sic]. I'm glad Red Sea diving is taking the time to respond to some of these comments to stop the spread of misinformation."
I have to agree with that statement! Still, it's worth stressing that this is a very specific case of a mom who is a trained diver and is well-versed on the safety of swimming with wild sea animals. Obviously the average person can't say the same.
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In the end, this video is not only entertaining, but it serves a great reminder, especially with summer coming up, about how important it is to keep water safety top of mind.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of 4. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.