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Olympic skier defends throwing toddler into snow bank after video goes viral

The gold medalist says her son wasn't in any danger — and doctors agree.
/ Source: TODAY

Retired Olympic skier Julia Mancuso is defending a video she shared of her toddler son vanishing into a snowbank.

In the now-viral clip, Mancuso is seen playfully tossing 17-month-old Sonny into a massive pile of fresh powder. Though the little boy disappears into the snow, Mancuso, 36, quickly pulls him out.

When Mancuso first shared the video last month, she added the disclaimer, "No children were harmed making this video."

Last week, Mancuso reposted the video with a lengthy explanation of how it occurred.

"Sonny loved it — there was zero risk of something being buried in the snow since it happened over the course of a day on our patio — we literally watched the snow fall. We practiced — then we went for it!," Mancuso wrote. "You really don't get these conditions often and can only enjoy the fluffy softness the very next day — so yeah — I don't think it's a good idea to through your kid into any snow bank... but when it snows like this! It's game on."

But many of Mancuso’s followers still think it's a slippery slope.

“This is HORRIBLE!! An infant/toddler/child is not a toy… Why would you think this is ok to do. More disgusting that you did it for an instagram post. You need to take a child safety class and educate yourself. This is not entertaining,” one person wrote in the comments.

Added another, “This is the saddest thing I have seen a Mother do to her child in a long time. Your baby trusts you and this is what you do?? Great Job Mom.”

Several people went as far as to accuse Mancuso of child abuse.

But according to North Carolina-based pediatrician Dr. David Hill, Mancuso was doing absolutely nothing wrong.

“While I can’t see what’s under that snow, I cannot see anything in this video that makes me concerned for the baby’s safety,” Hill told TODAY Parents. “He appears well bundled for the temperature, and the parents appear attentive to the environment and the baby’s wellbeing.”

Dr. Jen Trachtenberg, the author and creator of Pediatrician in your Pocket, agrees that Sonny was not at risk for injury.

"The parents seem to know how deep (the snow) is and that there is nothing dangerous buried underneath," Trachtenberg told TODAY Parents. "In addition, baby looks happy and engaged with mom."