Police shelve investigation into controversial ‘baby flying’ courses

Baby flying, photo: CT24

Police have shelved an investigation into an unusual practice dubbed ‘baby flying’, in which infants – some as young as three weeks old – are swung around by their hands and feet. The courses had been offered by a private childcare specialist in Prague. But the police became involved when Czech Television aired hidden camera footage of the practice, which paediatricians say is dangerous.

Baby flying,  photo: CT24
‘Baby flying’ may be unorthodox, it may – according to doctors – even be dangerous. But it is not, for now, illegal to vigorously swing babies around by their hands and feet. Police have shelved a criminal investigation into seminars in ‘baby flying’, saying none of the parents involved had been willing to testify that the practice was harmful.

The seminars had been offered by Blanka Kolářová Sudíková, who specialises in swimming courses for parents and their infant children. They were abandoned after Czech Television aired hidden camera footage earlier this year, showing screaming babies being swung around wildly by their parents.

Mrs Kolářová Sudíková spoke to the online newspaper iDNES of her great relief, saying she was convinced all along the practice was not harmful, and that the babies in the video were crying because their parents were just learning the various manoeuvres. She told the website she remained firm in her belief that baby flying was beneficial to child health:

Blanka Kolářová Sudíková,  photo: CT24
“I liked it as soon as I saw it. Obviously there was that initial shock when my colleagues here at the centre saw it for the first time. Then other people started seeing it – clients who attend our courses. Their reaction was – hmm, these babies are laughing, I’m going to try it with my child as well. The technique isn’t for anyone. It’s for people who like the look of it, and say – I’d like to try that. They try it, and if they like it, they do more of it. If they don’t, they stop. We’re not forcing anyone into it.”

Mrs Kolářová Sudíková says baby flying improves circulation and prevents muscular and joint disorders. However paediatricians quoted in the media and interviewed by police beg to differ, saying vigorous swinging can cause brain haemorrhages and severe joint injuries. But for now, in the absence of any parents who took part in the course willing to come forward and testify against the practice, the police investigation has been shelved. Mrs Kolářová Sudíková says she no longer runs the seminars at Prague’s A-Centre, but continues to offer one-on-one courses to individual parents.