F.A.Q’s

1. WHAT IS ISR AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SWIMMING PROGRAMS?

ISR is the product of over 50 years of on-going development in the area of aquatic survival for infants and children. ISR’s primary focus is to teach your child to become a productive swimmer, or floater, in any depth of water. As a result of ISR instruction, your child will become an “aquatic problem solver.” ISR will greatly increase your child’s chance of surviving an aquatic accident, even fully clothed! Developed in 1966 by behavioral psychologist Dr. Harvey Barnett, ISR instructors have taught children from 200,000 families and provided students with 8 million safe lessons nationwide.

2. IF MY CHILD IS UNDER A YEAR OLD, WHAT WILL HE/SHE BE ABLE TO LEARN?
6-12 MONTHS OLD
Your child is gently introduced to the water by me. As each child reacts differently, I will work with your child to guide him through the lesson process and to build a level of trust and comfort in the water. Once this is established, your child will begin to learn how to Self-Rescue.
ROLL-BACK-TO-FLOAT
Think of how your child learned to roll from stomach to back as a young baby. A child 6-12 months will learn:

  • To hold their breath underwater
  • To roll onto their back
  • To float unassisted, rest and breathe until help arrives
  • To perform these Self-Rescue skills first in a swim diaper, then while fully clothed

During ISR lessons, I will place your child face down in the water and help him or her learn to roll to the back and float. Your child never remains face down for more than a few seconds, I will always be right beside your child.

Children between the ages of 6 to 12 months old are taught to roll over and maintain a float position in the event of an accidental fall into the water. Teaching your infant to float takes approximately 3-5 weeks. Private 10 minute lessons are held 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. Fully skilled infants can maintain a float in a bathing suit or in clothing. ISR highly recommends survival training when your infant begins to crawl.

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3. IF MY CHILD IS OVER A YEAR OLD, WHAT WILL HE/SHE BE ABLE TO LEARN?
I will work with your child’s initial skills to help him or her gain both competence and confidence around the water. ISR has a deep passion for water safety and will not make your child over-confident or fearless, but will educate your child and teach them a healthy respect for the water.
SWIM-FLOAT-SWIM
Children over 1 year learn the following sequence during ISR’s Self-Rescue swimming lessons.

  • To hold their breath underwater
  • Swim with their head down
  • Roll onto their back to float, rest, and breathe
  • Roll back over to resume swimming until they reach the side of the pool, crawl out or be rescued by an adult
  • To perform these Self-Rescue skills first in a swim diaper, then while fully clothed

With these skills your child will be able to swim independently and learn to move at his or her own pace toward the safety of the side of the pool or the shores of a pond or lake.

Children over the age of one year old are taught to swim with their faces in the water, and when they sense the need for air, to roll over to their back and float. After resting and catching their breath, they flip over and continue to swim to the nearest point of safety. A child can perform this swim, float, swim, float sequence to safely reach their point of entry into the water in a survival situation. Children can also perform this sequence in their clothes. If a child does not see a way out of his predicament, he will roll over on his back and maintain a float position. This buys the parent time in the event of an accident. This same sequence is most often used for fun at the pool! The confidence and self-esteem of these young swimmers is truly amazing! Teaching your 12-month to 6 year old will take approximately 4-6 weeks. Private 10 minute lessons are held 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. When fully skilled with the swim, float, swim, sequence, older children can move directly into STROKE WORK with me.

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4. ARE SWIMMING LESSONS FOR INFANTS AND SMALL CHILDREN SAFE?
YES! No other swimming program currently available has the number of safety protocols required by ISR. Your child’s health and well-being is closely monitored on a daily basis. Your child’s medical and developmental history is a mandatory part of the ISR registration process.
All ISR instructors undergo 6 weeks of rigorous training and are required to be re-certified annually. Your education in the area of aquatic safety for your entire family is also an important part of the process. You will receive a copy of the ‘Parent Resource Guide,” written by Dr. Harvey Barnett, which contains important information for your child’s ISR lessons, as well as extensive information about aquatic safety for the whole family.
Consider these additional points:

  • A child is never thrown into the pool.
  • A child is never submerged for more than seven seconds.
  • ISR instructors monitor your child for temperature and muscular fatigue, Hyponatremia (water intoxication), and psychological well-being.
  • Your child’s daily routine outside of ISR lessons contains valuable information for your instructor. You will receive instruction at your parent orientation on how to monitor your child’s routines.

5. WHAT FURTHER LESSONS WILL MY CHILD NEED?
ISR recommends that you bring your child back for a refresher course; frequency depends on the child’s age, growth rate, skill, and confidence level. This is to help your child adjust his new body size and weight to his existing skill level. More importantly, it will give your child a boost in self-confidence if he has not been swimming for a period of time. Your instructor will fine tune stroking skills and help your child feel productive in the water. While no swimming program can make your child “drown proof,” ISR students have a 94-100% retention rate up to one year after their lessons.

6. WHAT IS THE COST OF ISR LESSONS?
ISR lessons cost $85.00 per week, payable weekly by cash, check, Venmo App., Square Cash App, or Pay Pal.  A sibling discount of $20 per week is available for students enrolled and taking lessons at the same time. Each additional sibling is $65 per week. The cost is $150.00 per week for two students per week. Please contact me directly for a price if you are enrolling 3 or more children into the program at one time. 

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7. WILL MY CHILD CRY DURING LESSONS?
The first few weeks in lessons for a beginner are a critical time of adaptation to the new environment, the instructor, and the technique. It can be a time of apprehension in and around the water because your child has not had time to perfect his or her new skills. Some of the babies cry because crying is a form of infant communication. There are several different types of infant cries and it is important to be sensitive and educated as to what these different types of cries indicate. Each child is an individual and reacts to the lessons uniquely. Some never cry and most children stop crying when they become skilled in the water. It is very important that the parent sets the example by keeping a positive tone when at lessons and when discussing lessons with or around the child.

8. HOW DO YOU TEACH A BABY TO SWIM?
ISR instructors teach infants to swim by honoring each child’s individual strengths and experiences. They understand the fundamentals of the behavioral sciences, child development and of sensorimotor learning as it relates to the acquisition of aquatic survival skills; they use this education to guide each child through the sequence of learning to swim and float.

9. WILL MY CHILD BE DROWN-PROOF?
No, nobody can ever drown-proof your child. Be leery of any program that advertises they can.

10. WHY DON’T YOU ALLOW THE PARENTS TO BE 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 with the water. Also, it takes incredible concentration and objectivity to teach the baby how to react to an aquatic emergency and our research shows that parents lack the objectivity to be effective teachers with their own children in the water. Once the child is fully skilled, I will have you get in the water with your baby so that I can show you how to honor the skills that your child had learned.

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11. WILL MY CHILD LEARN TO FEAR THE WATER?
It is important that the child not fear the water because being fearful would make it more difficult for the child to learn the necessary skills. There is an important difference between being fearful and being apprehensive because you are not yet skilled in a dangerous environment.

12. ARE ISR LESSONS SAFE?
Yes. As of 2017, more than 200,000 infants and young children have gone through the ISR program with over 8 million safe and effective lessons to our credit. To date, 800 children have saved themselves from definite drowning situations.

13. HOW ARE THE ISR INSTRUCTORS TRAINED?
ISR Instructors are the most highly trained and qualified instructors in any swimming program in the country and must undergo strict re-certification testing annually. Each instructor is academically trained and tested in areas such as child development and learning theory, behavioral science, anatomy, physiology and physics as they relate to infants and young children in the aquatic environment to provide the safest lesson possible for your child. In addition, each instructor spends a minimum of 60 hours of hands-on, supervised, in-water training working with actual students. They are all also CPR and First Aid Certified.

14. WHY DON’T YOU TEACH INFANTS UNDER THE AGE OF 6 MONTHS?
Children under the age of 6 months are not neurologically mature enough to benefit from ISR instruction.

15. WHY ARE REFRESHER LESSONS NECESSARY?
After their initial training, it is recommended that each child participate in Refresher lessons each season. Refresher lessons are important because children change so much both cognitively and physically during the first 2-3 years of life. It is important that their aquatic skills and abilities grow with them.

16. HOW DO THE BABIES AND CHILDREN KNOW TO HOLD THEIR BREATH?
Breath holding skills are taught in the first lesson. We shape breath control using highly effective positive reinforcement techniques.

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17. WHAT ABOUT FLOTATION DEVICES AND LIFE JACKETS?
Flotation devices give children a false sense of security and hold them in postures that are not compatible with swimming skills. If a child learns that he can jump in the water and go into a vertical posture and he will be able to breathe, he is getting the wrong idea about that environment. Flotation devices are for children who cannot swim. Children, who cannot swim, should not be allowed to learn that it is safe to play in the water while relying on a crutch. Life jackets must be worn in a boat or around the water when there is the potential for an accidental submersion. They are not a substitute for the ability to swim or for adult supervision.

18. HOW DO BABIES KNOW HOW TO RESPOND TO A FALL-IN?
A baby does not need to perceive danger or be afraid to respond appropriately to being underwater. If a baby has learned to roll over and float when he needs air, he does not need to perceive danger in order to respond in this manner. He needs skill, practice and confidence to calmly deal with the situation.

19. WHO INVENTED THIS METHOD AND HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN PRACTICED?
Dr. Harvey Barnett, who holds a PhD. in Psychological Foundations from the University of Florida researched and developed this program over a period of more than 40 years. For more information about ISR’s history, visit our national web site at www.infantswim.com.

20. WHY DO YOU NOT WANT YOUR STUDENTS TO EAT FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS PRIOR TO LESSONS?
The lessons require a lot of physical activity for the students. We do not want them to eat prior to lessons because we want them to be as comfortable as possible. Sometimes when students are crying they swallow air. ISR instructors frequently burp the students during lessons. If a child has recently eaten, the food will come up with the air causing them to throw up. Although this is not dangerous for the student we do not want them to associate throwing up with swimming and lessons each time. Therefore not feeding a child at least two hours prior to lessons reduce the likely hood of this happening.

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