“Baby flying” course shocks parents, country’s paediatricians
Many television viewers in the Czech Republic this week were shocked by a Czech TV broadcast reporting on a highly controversial and until now largely unknown method of exercising with newborns, so-called baby flying, offered by a children’s centre in the Czech capital. Images in the report showed naked babies being swung or twirled through the air by their parents – sometimes holding their child by just the legs or by a leg and an arm. Proponents say the exercises benefit babies’ health, but paediatricians are warning the opposite – that the method poses considerable health risks.
“Czech paediatricians have come out against this method across the board, everyone from surgeons to neurologists. There are dangers: every child is different and it’s impossible to say that even safe physical activities are suitable for all, let alone something like this. Newborns especially need a calm and reassuring environment, and this is the exact opposite. Swinging can have a very unnerving effect. A great deal of damage can be caused by this method, from joint problems to damage to the nervous system to shaken baby syndrome.”
“Parents learn how to do it in a three-hour course and it helps them to connect more closely with their children. Parents are constantly under pressure not to make any mistakes in handling their children and this course helps them: they see that the babies are okay and are reacting well. The method helps a baby’s blood circulation and reduces tension and over eight years of practicing it I have never had any problems. My own kids did baby flying. I understand that the images can appear shocking but the moves are practiced and paediatricians who have firsthand experience know that the method can help.”