I’ve become fascinated with this Infant survival swimming technique.  I guess, from a mom’s point of view I can agree with some of my readers comments/emails about how it looks horrible or like torture, but its not as if these children were just thrown in the water and the parents said "Sorry, you’re SOL… sink or swim, baby!" They go through a series of short but frequent training sessions until they master the "fully clothed, face down and swim-float-swim to the side".  These kids have LEARNED to hold their breath so they DON’T inhale water.  (something that, even if you are closeby your child and they fall in, no matter how quickly you rescue them they will still more than likely inhale and choke on water).  They’re at ease and not thrashing and panicking in the water once they learn the floating technique.  I found some info on one of the sites about the "time periods" for learning these skills:

  • Classes are 5 days a week, 10 minutes per class.  One child and one instructor in the
  • Average time period for a baby to learn the rollback and survival float is
    about 4 weeks,
  •  Average time for a child over age one to complete the initial
    swim-float-swim survival skills is abouts 6 week.

It also had pricing on there ($65/week… which would be EXPENSIVE seeing that you need on average at least 10 weeks of lessons).  I think if I lived on the lake or had a pool in my yard, I would find lessons like this necessary.  Yeah, for the most part a majority of kids will never drown, but its that slim chance that is scarier than watching your child get frustrated learning a new technique.  You can never be too safe… someone could leave a door open, or what not.  And, even people who frequent a lake or pool often… little toddlers move quick and even though they may have been "taught" not to get in the water without an adult, who is to say they won’t try to lean in and grab at a toy or play with the water?  Anyhow, not to sound like I’m saying "YES everyone should have these lessons!" (because quite frankly they are expensive and being an "average" family… it would strain the budget… as well as they are not offered in many locations), but I just wanted to point out some of the benefits for those who immediately disregard the thought/idea of them because it appears to be mean. 

I think for all ages, that "swim-float-swim" technique is something that should definitely be learned.  Even older children who may be swimming (in the lake, pool, ocean etc) and become tired/distressed.  Many kids would begin to thrash and try to swim harder and just tire themselves out.  To know to flip over and float to rest and regain energy would probably save a lot of older children from drowning also.

The statistics from one website is as follows:

"As of July 2005, more than 138,000 infants and young children have gone through the ISR program with millions of safe and effective lessons to our credit.
As of that date,771 children have saved themselves from
definite drowning situations. More than 1,700 have saved themselves from a probable drowning situation."

That’s pretty amazing to me. 

(also, for any readers/lurkers who want to hear from people who have actually went through the courses… I found a message board on IVillage HERE)


  1. I would SO take Tiegan to those swimming classes if I had the cash. But I just don’t. It would be hard for me to choke down the urge to rush out and grab her every time she looked helpless in the water, but soooooooo worth it!!

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