The Potentially Life-Saving Skill to Teach Your Infant

The moment a baby begins to crawl, life begins to move fast. Curiosity, combined with a newfound ability to navigate, can cause a little one to get into unsafe situations—especially if there’s water nearby. It only takes a few inches of water for a baby to drown, which is one of the reasons why it’s the leading cause of accidental death in children ages one through four.

But there’s something parents can do. Infant Swimming Resource, or ISR, provides infants and young children from the ages of six months to six years with something called survival swimming lessons. The goal isn’t to get them to learn a specific stroke; it’s to help them avoid drowning. It teaches little ones water safety skills that will help them if they ever find themselves in water.

Based on their age and personal readiness, children are taught skills like rolling over on their back so they can float and breathe, treading water, and swimming to safety. More than 300,000 babies and children have taken ISR lessons. To find an ISR instructor nearby, visit the ISR website and enter your information in the “Find an Instructor” section.

In addition to ISR, there are some other tips that can help you keep your child safe around water:

  • Learn CPR. Parents can visit their local community center to take an American Red Cross-approved course in this life-saving skill.
  • Never let kids swim alone. When there’s water nearby, children should never be outside of arm’s reach or the view of a lifeguard. And remember: Flotation devices alone will not keep your child safe.
  • Don’t rely solely on ISR. Children can drown in as quickly as 30 seconds, so the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that parents should still pay total attention to their child while they are in the water, even if they have been trained in ISR. If you have a pool at home, make sure that it is surrounded by a self-latching and self-closing gate with an alarm. There are even alarms that detect underwater motion, alerting you if a child has fallen in accidentally.

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Photo Credit: Honza Soukup

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