ISR – Infant Self-Rescue

I taught swimming lessons for 6 years before moving to Texas. And I always got assigned the Level 1 class. That class has a reputation. It’s the one you can hear across the parking lot. They are the little 2-3 year olds who haven’t ever had a swimming lesson and are very timid when it comes to moving in the water. Before graduating to level 2, one of the things they had to learn was to flip over and float on their back, then continue to swim to the wall.

Bless their hearts, many of them tried their best, but it took them a long time to ever feel comfortable doing that. I came up with every trick I could think of, but progress in the floating department was slow.

And then, in a college child development class, I saw this video:

WHAT?!?! How did they do that?

It took me two years until I had a “guinea pig” (aka: 15 month old daughter) I could try it on. I made my own attempts, but my results were just about as successful as teaching the level 1 kids.

So we bit the bullet and signed her up for ISR lessons (the company that put out that video you just watched).

We had to be at her lesson for 10 minutes, 5 days a week.

We had to log everything she ate or drank, when she slept, and anything you could possibly know about a child.

The hardest part was listening to her cry because she wanted to play instead of practice floating on her back.

I have to admit, 3-4 weeks into it, I was about ready to stop lessons because I wasn’t seeing much progress. It was expensive, tedious to keep track of all the food, and really sad to hear all the fussing.

Then the next week, this is what happened:

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She did it! Again and again. She had to be able to rescue herself wearing her swimsuit, in full summer clothing, in fall clothing, and in a winter coat (the winter one was the most perilous to watch, but she did it beautifully!). After 5 weeks, she was able to save herself if she were to fall into a pool or other body of water.

Because she was 15 months, she was able to learn the SWIM-FLOAT-SWIM sequence. Babies as young as 6 months can be in ISR lessons, but they typically just learn the roll over to FLOAT.

These teachers really know what they are doing. Lessons are one-on-one. Every little movement they do or skill they have the child practice is all focused on one thing…


Would I do it all over again with another child? Definitely.

If you have a back yard pool or live near a body of water, this training could save your child’s life. 5 weeks to teach self-rescue. Is that worth it?

If you are planning a great vacation to the beach or a lake, this could be one more safeguard to keeping your precious little one safe.

The ISR motto is “Not one more child drowns.”  Read the success/rescue stories by parents who still have their child, thanks to their ISR lessons. 5 weeks. Is the life of your child worth it to you?