A Connecticut couple David and Elana Barnes certainly endorsed the motto “life is too short to be boring” — and had to defend themselves Tuesday after a video showing their 5-year-old daughter swimming with sharks on a family vacation was widely criticized as irresponsible parenting.
The Barnes family posted the video on YouTube last month, showing their daughter, Anaia, swimming in shallow waters off the Bahamas. The young girl was with an instructor and other adults.
Dad David Barnes told one news outlet that everyday life poses risks. “I’m more concerned that they don’t put seatbelts in school buses,” he said.
In the YouTube post, the family wrote that they “swam with Reef, Lemon, and Nurse sharks, all very low on the aggression index, yet still very thrilling! Put it on your bucket list!”
John Lenzycki, an assistant curator at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, told News 8 in New Haven that nurse sharks are more mellow, while lemon and reef sharks can exhibit higher predatory behavior.
He wasn’t sure if he’d allow his own child to swim with such creatures. “I’d probably be a little bit more cautious myself,” Lenzycki told News 8.
The Barnes family wrote on YouTube that, “We swam with Reef, Lemon, and Nurse sharks, all very low on the aggression index, yet still very thrilling! Put it on your bucket list!”
The video posted by the Barneses triggered an online feeding frenzy of comments.
“Precariously endangering the life of your child is something which obviously shows a complete lack of common sense,” wrote one YouTube user.
Another person chimed in: “I don’t understand the outrage over this. It’s not like the kid was covered in chum and tossed into the water alone.”
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