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Learning a Lifesaving Skill: How the ISR Program Teaches Infants and Children How to Swim

July 18, 2017

Every day, two children under age 14 die as the result of accidental drowning.

Even when the result isn’t fatal, many children can end up in the ER and suffer serious injuries as a result of these incidents. That’s why it’s so critical to teach children how to swim.

For more than 50 years, ISR, or Infant Swim Resource, has provided survival swim lessons to children across the country. With our ISR program, children can learn lifesaving swim techniques beginning when they are six months old.

Our Survival Swim Lesson Package teaches children six months to six years old, skills that can help them when they’re in the water — whether it be a pool, at the beach or even in the bath tub.

The program starts by teaching infants the mechanics of floating correctly. With the floating lessons, young participants start off on their back in a full float, get a full breathe of air and flip over so they’re on their belly.

Because participants are so young, a lot of the communication and teaching we do is physical and very hands-on. During lessons, an ISR instructor monitors the respiratory rate of each child who is swimming and when the child is taking in that full breathe of air, we know everything we’re doing is safe and we’re teaching participants good habits.

After the floating lessons, the program progresses. Throughout the program, children also practice swimming with clothes on, since this situation may occur if they accidentally fall into a pool or other body of water. Parents also participate in one or two lessons, which encourages families to practice the survival lessons we teach at home.

Instructors work to ensure that all the young participants know how to roll over and return to their back and stay in their float on their own. Our main goal is that if infants ever find themselves in the water alone, they will be able to instinctively remember to float and swim to the edge to save themselves.

Once children learn to float in the water, they can float for hours on end, which may prevent serious injury in the water. Learning the skill of floating is critical for children at an early age, because anything can happen at any time, whether it’s at a friend’s pool party or even in the bathtub.

We’re dedicated to providing children and families with survival swim lessons and our instructors go through rigorous training to ensure they provide the best instruction to young participants. ISR also has different certification standards than other infant swim programs. We intensely focus on the safety aspect of swimming and our training is more extensive since instructors must get recertified every year.

In addition to the lessons ISR provides, Orlando Health also has a program where it offers a free home pool safety inspection to check safety barricades and ensure a pool isn’t easily accessible for young members of your family. This service is another potentially lifesaving resource for families with young children.

ISR is an important program for families. I can’t tell you how many parents come in and thank instructors for all they’ve done, saying there has been an incident that could have resulted in something more tragic had their children not received our instruction.

At Orlando Health, ISR is a year-round program, which for a first time participant takes place for six weeks from Monday through Friday and includes a 10-minute swim lesson every day. We also provide one to two-week refresher courses for children who have completed the program, which we suggest they take three to four months after their initial instruction. As children move up in age in ISR, we encourage families to register for lessons through Swim America, a national program that teaches children how to swim and helps them learn proper stroke technique. The program advances children’s swimming skills beyond the survival techniques they learn with ISR.

Accidents can happen at any time, and ISR’s survival swim lessons help children and families be as prepared as possible when they’re in the water. Most often, incidents happen in backyard pools, so teaching children how to float can make all the difference. If you’d like more information about ISR or would like to enroll your child in the program, please visit this page for more information.

Sign up for the Infant Swimming Resource Today

The NTC offers Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) lessons to the community. It only takes a few minutes for a child to drown or sustain serious, life-altering injuries. ISR is the safest provider of survival swimming lessons with life saving skills that teach your child to survive in the water. 

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