A Taiwanese father came under heavy criticism from children’s rights activists and other concerned members of the public after his wife shared on social media a clip showing the couple’s one-month-old baby strapped to the frame of their car’s steering wheel and spun around.
The video, showing the father, Yong Liao, 39, spinning the infant lashed to the wheel, was recorded while the couple was at a service station in western Taiwan’s Miaoli County. Liao can be heard singing and laughing as he spins the infant around on the steering wheel.
When he turns the steering wheel until the baby is almost upside down, the baby kicks slightly and makes a barely audible noise in his throat. But the baby does not cry and does not appear harmed by the action.
Liao’s wife and the baby’s mother, Xia Lung, 34, can be heard giggling in the background as she filmed the incident. She later shared the clip on social media.
It went viral in Taiwan and China immediately after it was posted online.
Lung was forced to remove the clip when children’s rights activists and others who were horrified by the action attacked her. But she responded defensively, saying that the baby was not hurt and that her husband was not driving on the road at the time.
“I don’t know what everyone is complaining about. We weren’t on a main road at the time. We were only at a service station.”
Wei-Jun, who heads the national Committee for the Improvement of Children’s Rights, said that the authorities would not take any action against the couple because there was nothing in the footage that suggested that the baby was harmed or that the parents intended to harm the baby. But he noted that the couple did not set a good example and advised others not to imitate the action.
“Looking at the video, it does not seem as if there is intentional abuse of the child, although I think it’s fair to say that the parents are a bad example for others and that the activity is certainly dangerous.”
Although, many online viewers condemned the parents, a few agreed with Wei-Jun that while the action was not wise, it was not sufficient to cause outrage.
The website Barstool Sports, for instance, commented that “Dad’s [sic] are supposed to be the parent you can have fun with.”
“Since when is this type of thing the source for outrage? If I’ve come to understand anything about having a kid (and I understand very little) it’s that the Dad can put the child in somewhat-dangerous situations and it can be a joke and everybody will shrug it off with a laugh. Dad’s are supposed to be the parent you can have fun with.”
Do you think the father’s action amounted to child abuse? Or did critics overreact?