Child Swim Safety FAQs

What is ISR and how is it different from other swimming programs?
ISR is the product over 45 years of ongoing development in the area of aquatic survival instruction for infants, toddlers, and young children. ISR’s primary focus is to teach your child to become a productive swimmer, or floater in any depth of water. The goal of ISR is that your child becomes an “aquatic problem solver.” ISR will greatly increase your child’s chance of surviving an aquatic accident, even when fully clothed!
I hear you say your priority is survival skills. Will my child learn to actually swim?
Yes. At ISR, we believe that part of survival for a child who can walk is swimming. Children learn the swim-float-swim sequence so that they could get themselves to safety. The difference in our program is that they will learn swimming AND survival skills and how to be an aquatic problem solver.
What is the retention rate with ISR lessons?
ISR claims a retention rate of 94-100% up to one year following lessons. Having said this, children will explore and may pick up bad habits watching other children or with interference like floating in a bathtub or playing on the steps. As your child goes through lessons, you will begin to understand, through communication with your Instructor, what activities may interfere with his/her learned Self-Rescue skills. Contacting and/or returning to your instructor in a timely manner is imperative to maintaining effective habits.
Why do you have the children swim in clothes?
Because 86% of children, who fall in the water, do so fully clothed, we want our students to have experience with such a situation. If a child has experienced the sensations of being in the water in clothing prior to an emergency situation, he/she is less likely to experience panic and be able to focus on the task at hand. If you have ever jumped in the water with clothes on, then you know that there is a significant difference in weight and feel with clothes as opposed to a bathing suit.
Why are lessons 5 days per week and for only 10 minutes?
The reason for this is multifaceted. First, repetition and consistency are crucial elements of learning for young children. Research shows that short, more frequent lessons result in higher retention. Second, most children have fairly short attention spans and will not be able to focus on the task for longer and we want to take advantage of the best time for learning. A third reason is that, though the pool temperature is maintained at 78-88 degrees, the temperature is still lower than your child’s body temperature. Lessons are work and therefore will also be loosing body heat. Instructors check students regularly for temperature fatigue since this is an indicator of physical fatigue.
Why does it take 4-6 weeks for my child to learn this?
The 4-6 weeks is an estimate that is based on the average time in which it takes most children to learn these survival skills. Every child is unique and ISR’s Self-Rescue program is specifically designed based on your child’s individual strengths and needs. It is important to realize that this is an average which means that some children will actually finish more quickly while others will need more practice. ISR is dedicated to safety and, therefore, we want to provide your child with the time and best opportunity to become proficient in his/her survival skills. We will always honor your child’s needs.
Why should parents enroll their children in ISR lessons?
ISR parents are intelligent and enroll their children because they understand their children’s abilities and want to give them every opportunity to learn. They also feel it is important to teach their children how to help themselves should they find themselves alone in the water. Research shows that there are better times to learn certain things and swimming is best learned early in life. (Newsweek and Drowning Statistics)
What other benefits do the ISR lesson experience provide students?
Every child is unique. However, many parents report that once their young children have mastered learning to swim, the resulting confidence in their abilities engenders a positive self-concept that is often demonstrated in other aspects of their personalities. There are also obvious health and other psychological gains.
Are swimming lessons for infants and young children safe?
YES! ISR is dedicated to safety and maintaining numerous safety protocols to promote safe lessons. Your child’s health and well-being are our highest priority and are closely monitored on a daily basis. In addition, your child’s medical and developmental history is a mandatory part of the ISR national registration process, all of which is held strictly confidential. All ISR instructors undergo an intensive and rigorous training that far exceeds any other training program of this kind. Each ISR instructor is also required to attend a yearly re-certification symposium that includes quality control as well as continuing education. Your education in the area of aquatic safety for your entire family is an integral part of your child’s lessons. You will receive access to the “Parent Resource Guide”, written by Dr. Harvey Barnett and JoAnn Barnett, which will inform you of every aspect of swimming for infants and children.

With research, you will find that ISR is the safest survival swimming program but also the most effective for teaching infants and young children.

Why don't parents participate in the water during the lessons?
We do not want the baby to initially associate the water with the love, attention and affection of the parent while in the water. Also, it takes incredible concentration and objectivity to teach the baby how to respond to an aquatic emergency and our research shows that parents often find it too difficult to be objective to be effective teachers with their own children in the water.
How do the kids react during the first few lessons?
Children often fuss during the first few lessons because they are in a new environment and around new people. As your child becomes more confident in his/her ability in the water, the fussing will decrease.

It is not unlike the first time you tried a new exercise class, or were asked to perform a task at work that you’d never done before: the first time you try a new task it is always challenging, until you get the hang of it. It is the same for your young child. Your child is learning to perform a skill that he/she’s never done before.

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