Here is scary fact for any parent:
Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in children under 5 years of age.
There are so many things that I won’t be able to help protect Max from in this life, but I was determined that my son would learn the skills that can help prevent the unspeakable from happening so we enrolled him in ISR Self Rescue swim classes at his daycare. Max graduated from his ISR classes this spring, now I have the peace of mind that Max will be OK should he fall in the water someday when I am not there. I wanted to share a little bit about our experience with ISR Self Rescue swim classes in hopes that maybe someone else might consider sending their child to these classes, and just maybe help save a life one day.
Q: Did Max cry the first lesson?
A: Yes he did, and a few lessons after that, but in the end it was all worth it.
Yes, it was difficult to see him cry, but as hard as it was, the end result is what is most important to me. I felt it was my duty to make sure he learned skills to survive in the event he found himself in the water alone. Now this kiddo will jump, dive, swim and float happily. There is no more crying now, just excitement and smiles. He is such a little water baby that I have to coax him to get out of the pool – he would swim for hours if I let him. And probably the coolest thing is seeing him so proud of what he has just done, smiling ear to ear after he’s reached the edge of the pool or our outreached arms. When he is floating and catches your eye, he will smile and sometimes even wave, letting you know that he knows you are watching, showing off just a little. I’ve even noticed that when he is tired or upset now outside the pool, he puts his arms above his head as a way of calming down and relaxing. In short, I am so happy we did this.
Here are the facts. We live in Florida. We go to the beach often. We have a swimming pool in our back yard, and living in Florida, lots of friends and neighbors have pools. As much I think I can be a helicopter parent at times, the fact of the matter is that I won’t always be there, and not every pool will have good supervision, fences or alarms. Drowning can be quick and silent. It’s easy to lose track of your child for a second, especially in a crowd or at a party. (If you have a pool nearby and lose track of your child, run directly to the pool first and check to make sure they are not there. Every second matters.)
ISR instructors provide one-on-one survival swimming instruction during daily, 10-minute lessors, starting as young as 6-months of age. Infants from 6-12 months will learn to hold their breath under water and roll onto their backs unassisted. Children over one year of age will learn how to hold their breath under water, swim with their heads down and eyes open, roll onto their back and float, rest and breathe, and then roll back to swim, continuing this sequence until they reach safety at an edge or wall.
Please be sure to look for an instructor that is certified ISR Self Rescue certified to make sure that your child has the safest and most effective experience, establishing good breath work before moving on to the next steps.
Some parents are apprehensive to start swim lessons because of concerns about secondary drowning, which is extremely rare but has received increasing new exposure over the last several years. Secondary drowning can happen hours or days after water has become trapped in someone’s lungs, which causes inflammation and fluid to build in the lungs, which ultimately causes the drowning. (To learn more about the signs and symptoms of secondary drowning, click here.) ISR classes can help reduce the likelihood of secondary drowning because a key part of the instruction is learning proper breath control.
I’ve included two videos below so you can see what the lessons look like, a few months apart.
The first is a video of Max from late this spring as Max was starting to get a little bit more comfortable in the water, practicing a combination of swimming and floating to learn to make it to the edge.
The second video is from just last week. Max will dive into the water on his own now and absolutely loves it. He can float for a very long time and is totally at ease. We are so very proud all of his hard work, and thankful he had such a great teacher to work with!