You’ve probably seen a version of this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwvv5IyPkXM A young child in blue PJs toddles alone to the edge of a swimming pool and falls in. It is horrifying. However, if you keep watching after he falls in you see that this baby turns himself over and begins to float. This little one who can barely walk can float on his back until help arrives! It seems almost impossible, but what you should know is that it is very possible AND these lessons are available for Indianapolis area families.
This method is called Infant Self Rescue, and it is a swim-safety program for children ages 6 months to 6 years. Pre-walkers learn the roll-to-float method which enables them to wait for help in the float position. Older children learn a swim-float-swim sequence which allows them to float to rest in between swimming towards the pool edge or nearest safe place.
I saw this video and, being a family that loves to be near the water, I felt very strongly about affording my children a few extra seconds or minutes if the unthinkable should happen and they found themselves in the water alone. After learning that these lessons were available in Indy my husband and I agreed it made sense to enroll our son right away. My oldest child Luke started ISR when he was 10 months old. The lessons are one-on-one and only 10 minutes daily, and the roll-to-float technique usually takes about 4 weeks to master.
This year marks my family’s third spring taking lessons from Yiwen Fung, who teaches out of her home in Carmel. Believe me when I say I only haul my two young boys and giant pregnant self to Ms. Yiwen’s daily because I strongly believe in this method. My oldest is now 2 and is growing into a wonderful swimmer and loving it. He took a week of rescue swimming refresher lessons this year and now works on more advanced skills (he is beginning the back stroke, which is both adorable and comical). Baby Jack, 14 months, is in his second week of ISR and is working hard to master the roll-to-float method. Once Ms. Yiwen is sure that Jack is ready he will practice his skills fully clothed so that he can save himself in the event of a water accident, no matter what he is wearing.
The biggest misconception of ISR seems to be the thinking that the child is left to struggle on their own. This is far from the truth. In the first lessons the instructor works gently with the child to teach them how to hold a float position. Once they have perfected this they move on to reaching the float from various positions in the water to ensure they are able to float no matter how they entered the water. Although the lessons are hard work for the little ones the instructor is always guiding the child through the water and to the position of safety. The instructors also follow strict guidelines on how long a child can be in the water, closely monitor their body temperature, and keep an eye on their general daily health including sleeping and eating habits.
There is so much more to understand about ISR, so I strongly encourage you to learn more and find the instructor closest to you atinfantswim.com. There are 3 instructors in the Indianapolis area including various locations within Indy, Carmel, Plainfield, and Mooresville. The instructors welcome you to contact them and set up a time to observe lessons if you are interested in seeing ISR in action before you enroll.