Russian couple arrested over baby-swinging street act in Malaysia

Video footage shows man swinging child in nappy between his legs and over his head

A Russian couple was arrested in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 4 February, 2019, after being accused of swinging a baby by the legs and throwing it in the air during a street act.
A Russian couple was arrested in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 4 February, 2019, after being accused of swinging a baby by the legs and throwing it in the air during a street act.

A Russian couple accused of swinging their baby by the legs and throwing it in the air during a street act in Malaysia have been arrested.

The parents, aged 27 and 28, who are travelling across South East Asia busking, were arrested in Kuala Lumpur on Monday over alleged abuse of the four-month-old girl.

It came after a video of one of their performances was widely shared on Facebook, with many expressing their disgust at the act.

The 90-second video shows a man holding a baby - dressed in just a nappy - by its feet, swinging it between his legs and above his head.

He also briefly lets go of the baby as he throws it in the air a number of times.

Crowds can be seen gathered behind the man while a group play instruments and chant beside him.

The video can still be viewed on Facebook but carries a warning that it “may show violence against a child or teenager”.

A Russian couple was arrested in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 4 February, 2019, after being accused of swinging a baby by the legs and throwing it in the air during a street act.

The man who uploaded the footage said he happened to be passing the area when he “saw this irresponsible act that can literally cause injury”.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Mazlan Lazim told news agency AFP: “We detained them on Monday for questioning over the alleged abuse of their four-month-old baby girl.”

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He said the baby was unharmed with no sign of injuries.

Similar ‘baby gymnastics’ or ‘dynamics’ are not uncommon in Russia where the act is legal.

Some believe the exercise can help a baby to develop more quickly as they think it can help them adapt to their new surroundings and become more relaxed and sociable.

However, experts say the practice could lead to shaken baby syndrome, a brain injury caused when a baby is thrown, jerked or shaken.

Babies, especially newborns, have very weak neck muscles so vigourous movement such as that involved in the practice risks causing a whiplash effect that can then cause bleeding within the brain or the eyes.

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