I am so thankful that people are beginning to share their water safety reminders. Especially as the season changes and our little ones are coming in closer contact with the water. However, there is a problem with these reminders. I fear they have become too customary. After all, most of us are already very aware of the basic safeguards (i.e. fences, constant supervision, etc). Yet, we are still having accidents. And, the statistics prove it. In Orange County, CA, drowning is the leading cause of death of children ages 1-4. This is why we chose ISR swim lessons for our children and why I hope you will too.
She was in the pool with her daughter when it happened.
I’ll be the first to admit that every time I’ve heard a story about a little one who drowned, my stomach hurt. How can this still be happening? Don’t we know better? Or, do most of us still believe that this can’t happen to us?
The fact is, is that it can happen to anyone.
And, it does. It happened to a loved one of mine this past Easter when she was IN the pool with her daughter. IN the pool WITH her daughter! She was the last person I’d guess this would happen to!
Fortunately, our family was spared the heartache and destruction of losing a child. We were the lucky ones. Still, this hit so close to home. And, I’ve been forced to accept that no matter how knowledgeable or aware I think I am, I have three kids and only two hands.
My attention is too divided.
That’s when my husband and I agreed that another safeguard was needed. After learning more about it, we decided that it was best to register all three of our children in Infant Swimming Resource or ISR lessons. ISR’s Self-Rescue instruction are survival swimming lessons that both train and prepare a child to survive an aquatic accident should the first two safeguards (pool fence and supervision) fail.
You may have seen YouTube videos of children jumping into pools fully-clothed and quickly turning onto their backs with their faces up so that they can breathe and/or call for help. Or, you may have seen the Swim-Float-Swim method which is taught to older kids.
My 3 kids in ISR swim lessons: the cost and time commitment
Three weeks ago, we started ISR. Right now, we are taking classes every weekday. It’s quite a commitment to go so often, but I cannot believe the progress I’ve witnessed in such a short time.
Our five-year-old is set to graduate next week. Paige, our three-year-old, is not far behind. And, our 10-month-old is already floating in the water with very little assistance! To say that I am impressed would be an understatement. My children are learning how to swim and how to survive!
Regarding cost, I will admit that I balked at first.
It does seem like an excessive expense. But, I will tell you, last year we spent over $1500 on swimming lessons between a swimming school and a private instructor for two kids ages 2 and 4.
Those lessons were fun for them but, they ‘graduated’ with very little proficiency.
At the time, I attributed their ineptitude to their age and continued using a baby swim float or “floaties” with supervised and limited time in the water. But, now that I have seen what goes on at an ISR swim lesson, ISR is far and away the better option.
The learning process is much quicker and produces lasting results.
And, just for fun, if you need a little more justification surrounding cost, consider what you might pay for preschool. Many deem preschool a necessary expense. But, let me ask you this: Does preschool teach your child to survive in the water? Plus, while I can’t substantiate this with anything but my own observation, I can tell you that since we’ve started ISR, all three of my kids have blossomed both in and out of the water.
My older two have gained a lot more confidence in themselves.
Physically, they’ve become more aware of their bodies. Mentally, they’ve become more focused. Also, my youngest, who is 10 months old, seems like he’s really come alive. He’s so much more active now – crawling, waving, pointing and clapping! He’s even becoming more verbal! Maybe it’s a coincidence but, it’s really cool to see the all-around growth in my kids during this time.
Less Customary Water Safety Tips (These May Surprise You)
I am a ridiculous specimen when it comes to information. I can devour it, but am hopeless when presenting most of it. So, here’s a list of water safety tips I’ve gleaned from our ISR Safety Handbook:
- Keep Pools Filled to the Highest Level – I did not immediately recognize this point until I realized how much easier it would be for a little swimmer to reach the side of the pool if they’ve become fatigued (or had fallen in).
- Dark and/or Shaded Pools Pose a Visibility Risk – It’s harder to see the bottom of the pool if it’s dark or shaded. Be aware.
- Keep Flotation Toys/Devices to a Minimum – Obstructed view of the bottom of the pool poses obvious risks. Make it easy on your eye when supervising.
- Flotation Devices Offer False Security and Teach the Child Improper Water Posture – Additionally, if they are bumped or fall in, there is no assurance that they will rise to the surface of the water face up with a baby swim float or other floatation device strapped to them.
- Keep Patio Furniture ENCLOSED – Remove anything that may be used as a step or prop for a child to move up against a pool fence so as to reach the lock or climb over. If they want to get in and can find a way, they will! Patio furniture should not be kept outside of the pool gate.
- CPR is NOT a Safeguard – It’s wonderful if you are certified, but it is an emergency response tool, NOT A SAFEGUARD, with uncertain outcomes.
- Take Breaks – Small children especially, fatigue quickly in the pool. Get them out every 10 minutes or so to rest. The same is true for the “supervisor.” We only have so much bandwidth. Give yourself a break by asking all kids to get out of the pool and move them to a safe area while you take a few minutes to break.
ISR swim lessons can be great for kids with sensory disorders.
Another interesting tidbit of knowledge I gained through ISR lessons is that children with sensory disorders may actually do really well in the ISR setting! What you may assume to be a stressful environment is one rather of calm and comfort.
Plus, ISR instructors teach using cues instead of words. In my experience, this seems to be the best practice for many children. That includes those with sensory disorders. Still, be sure to discuss any concerns or limitations your child may have before taking lessons. Your ISR instructor will also be asking.
Who teaches ISR swim lessons?
There are only THREE certified ISR instructors in Orange County, CA. We chose to take lessons with Deanna Madrid. She has has proved to be an excellent choice and is wonderful with kids! I’d assume that has to do with her background in nursing, but I think it’s also just who she is. And, because I get to see her with other kids before and after our lessons, I can tell you that she’s just as highly revered by her other students. If you’re interested in getting your kids into swim lessons, I’d highly recommend you look into ISR with her or another local instructor. Your summer will be that much better because of it.
ISR Does Not Replace the First Two Safeguards
Finally, if I can stress one thing above all and agree with EVERY other water safety reminder, it’s that there is no greater safeguard than your undivided attention to a child in or around a pool. The same is true when walking into a friend or neighbor’s home. Do not assume that there are safeguards in place to protect your child. You MUST be diligent in accessing your child’s surroundings at all times. The benefit of knowing your child has ISR training is not that you can let him/her run free, but that they have been equipped with ISR skills to buy them the best chance at survival should they be faced with an aquatic accident.