Wondering about Infant Swim Resource? Local Mom Erica McCall experienced something many of us have heard about, maybe even seen a media clip or two about, yet never experienced first-hand. ISR. See what Erica thought about Infant Swim Resource in her full review!
*Piece was written in 2015 – please contact swim instructors for current pricing rates
You know when you find something amazing and you wonder how you ever went without knowing about it? And then you see stuff about it everywhere and you think, “Did I have blinders on?!” This is that story for me.
Infant Swim Rescue (ISR)
At the start of the summer, I wrote a list of places where you could take swimming lessons. I included the instructor that I’d planned for our son’s summer, Brennan Townsend with ISR. I mentioned that it wasn’t the same as swimming lessons, but MAN! I have to tell you why Infant Swim Resource is definitely the way to go from now until forever.
Let’s start from the beginning. ISR was founded in 1966 by a man who had the unfortunate life experience of having a neighbor’s child drown while he was growing up. He decided right there that it was high time drownings were ended. He dedicated his studies and career to ensure that Not One More Child Drowns.
Did you know 58% of parents don’t consider drowning a real danger for their child? Did you know parents are often present when a child drowns? Here are some extremely scary statistics on drownings.
Now, ISR is a leader across the globe in survival swim lessons. Like I said, these aren’t your usual swim lessons. These are about survival. They have over 300,000 graduates with over 800 stories of survival of when kids had to put their skills to use during an accident and they were successful!
Children from 6 months and up can learn different skills with ISR, starting with the basic float and wait for help. My son’s age group learns the swim-float-swim sequence to get to safety. Children a little older learn this as well as strong swimmer skills that allow them to enjoy safe water play.
My Family’s Experience with ISR
My son took lessons for 6 weeks and 1 day. *We paid a $105 non-refundable registration fee and then $150 upfront for the first two weeks of lessons. *Each week cost $75, and there were no surprise fees in there anywhere. In fact, we got a code for a discount to use in their swim store once we’d registered. (Rain delays were factored in with pricing, so there was no worry about my paying for lessons the rain caused us to miss.)
*Please note: these prices were from 2015. Prices may vary with the instructor.
Oh yeah- and each lesson is about 8-10 minutes, with most of it being one-on-one direct instruction pool time and a small part spent discussing the sheet you fill out on your child’s eating/sleeping/pooping.
Yes. 8-10 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
It is NOT convenient, but c’mon. Is your child’s safety really about your convenience?
Nope. On the plus side- that was just enough daily time for me to get a lovely tan this summer without burning!
We had to have a swim diaper and two or three towels each day in order to have a double layer of towels in between wet baby and the pool edge. I was pretty surprised about that until I learned why- germ prevention. I was totally on board after that. We ended up using our coupon to also buy a long sleeved swim shirt from the ISR store because I didn’t want to put on sunscreen every single day. Love that thing!
The first three days went pretty much like I thought they would. He sputtered a little when he had to put his face in because he didn’t have much breath control yet. He didn’t like having to lay flat for the float. None of that was surprising though because it was all what I already saw at bath time or when we swam at the pool ourselves.
Then day four happened. He decided it was high time he demanded that he never have to float again. He cried. THE. ENTIRE. TIME. Yep. I felt terrible, but mostly for our instructor! I know what a pain it is to try to concentrate when they’re unhappy, so I figured she was miserable. Not so. Apparently, most kids experience days where they are just not cooperating and cry throughout the lesson. I ended up seeing a lot of different age kids (elementary to baby) cry at some point or other during the weeks of lessons. Our little guy only cried for about a week. Now I know that sounds like a long time, but let me just tell you what a big faker my kid was. He’d sing about “simmie-poo” and “simmie-yessens” and ask me aaaaaall day when we would go, cry during the lesson, and then say “simmie poo fun” when we got in the car. *facepalm* So- don’t think it was some sort of traumatic week and he must hate the water now. Nope. He just didn’t like having to do something he didn’t want to do and then he got over it.
After our week of being cuh-razy, everything was fantastic. He would ask me every day when we would get to go and then he’d ask for his teacher… and then ask when we could go… and then say he loved his teachers… you get the picture. He loved going to ISR.
He had some days where he reverted to an old mindset instead of following directions, but for the most part I felt like I saw progress every single day.
Let me break down what they did every day. They had four things they did together each day (which became a broken record mantra for my son to ask me about): he’d swim to the steps, he’d float, he’d grab the bar, and he’d get to her hand. That translated into him saying “fwim thepths, fwoat, bawr, hannnd” approximately seventy-four thousand, nine hundred three times each day because he was so excited about going and then about what all he did after. The different areas were all building blocks that allowed him to learn the different means of swimming, floating, and rescue that were available. It required him to be actively looking in the water for a way to get out. In order to graduate, he had to be able to do a swim-float-swim sequence to get from the teacher to an exit area. It was truly amazing to watch as all these steps scaffolded together in order to form a survival swim.
By the time graduation day came, he had to perform the swim-float-swim sequence in full winter clothes. Many people questioned this when I told what we’d be doing, but think about it. How often do kids drown in just a bathing suit? How often do we see on the news that a kid wandered into a neighbor’s pond or pool, meaning they were wearing whatever they’d been dressed in? Exactly. They need to be able to do the skills they learned regardless of what they had on. I dressed our son in a long sleeved shirt and the thickest jeans we own. Why? I wanted to be darn sure he could still do it, even if his legs were way heavier than usual.
It worked! He was given all his usual tasks to complete, plus a couple that were new to the last week of lessons, including new ‘placements’ from different positions that simulated ways he might enter the water. Not flung or dunked or anything, just gently placed in different positions to ensure they could regain a sense of where up was and problem-solve, even if he was a bit disoriented. Man! It was amazing to watch our little bug, not even two years old, get himself to the surface, relax into a calm float, and then flip himself over to kick towards safety. He even stopped along the way to flip back into his float to take a breath.
You wanna talk about being a proud mama! I definitely teared up watching his success. In just six short weeks, we’d gone from liking swimming to loving it and being totally confident in how to be safe in water.
Now that it’s behind us…
I do not regret one cent of one dollar that we spent on these lessons. I do not regret one minute it cost me or one ounce of gas we paid for. I can’t imagine how I ever questioned whether or not these would be right for us or if the cost was worth it. IT WAS and then some. I even saw a five year old, who took close to two weeks to put her face in the water, end up swimming all the way across the pool to the wall at the deep end! I also saw a little baby doing his float perfectly. (I loved seeing the different aged kids learn all their skills! Such confidence blossomed in each of them!)
There are now three instructors in the upstate area, which is wonderful since you’re going to want to get on the wait-list for these ASAP, even if your kids have taken swim lessons already. Remember- these are about survival for when the worst happens as well as how to enjoy the water safely when swimming. I feel a thousand times better about his safety now that I’ve watched him grow into a confident, capable little fish. He’s one of over 300,000 graduates from the ISR program and he has the medal to prove he can do it!
Visit infantswimupstate.com to get your child signed up. Tell them Kidding Around Greenville sent ya’ and enjoy watching your little fish grow!