WHAT IS ISR AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SWIMMING PROGRAMS?
ISR is the product of over 50 years of research and development in the aquatic survival instruction for infants and children field. ISR's primary focus is to teach young children to become productive swimmers and floaters in any depth of water. Rather than learning how to blow bubbles and sing songs in the water, ISR students learn skills they would need to use in the event of a real life drowning scenario. The goal of ISR to turn our students into "aquatic problem solvers" by showing them how to deal with any situation they may get themselves into. ISR greatly increases a child's chance of surviving an aquatic accident, even when fully clothed!
IS ISR DIFFERENT FROM A CLASS LIKE MOMMY AND ME?
Although many programs for young children focus on a water orientation approach using songs and games, this type of approach does not teach your child any of the skills necessary for survival. The Parent & Me approach teaches children that water is FUN without teaching them any meaningful skills. Remember, water will not be fun for your child if he/she is unskilled and finds himself alone in it. This type of approach may actually make a child more vulnerable to drowning as this teaches children to believe water is a safe and fun without any understanding of the skills needed for effective swimming. ISR lessons encourage water competence first, which leads to confidence, promoting a SAFE foundation for a lifelong enjoyment of the water.
ARE ISR LESSONS SAFE?
YES! ISR instructors have taught over 7 million safe, effective lessons! The safety of each child is the highest priority of each ISR instructor. Prior to participation each child is registered via an online registration process and each child’s health and developmental history is evaluated by a team of medical professionals to ensure safe participation in lessons. Each lesson is private, the instructor’s attention is focused completely on your child. The ongoing safety of each child is monitored throughout the weeks of lessons by tracking each child’s Bowel, Urine, Diet, and Sleep (BUDS). This is reviewed prior to each lesson. If the instructor feels any of these key health measurements are not as they should be, the length and pace of a lesson is adjusted, or in some cases, the lesson is canceled for the day. Many pediatricians who are educated about this program and its high safety standards promote and refer their patients to this program.
HOW CAN A CHILD LEARN ANYTHING IN 10 MINUTES?
Although 10 minutes may seem like a very short time, each lesson is private and each student is getting the undivided attention of a highly trained instructor. Lessons, though short, require a great deal of work and concentration from our students. Given ISR students’ age, asking their bodies to perform this exercise for an extended duration is dangerous and can lead to over exertion in the water. Before deciding that a child can't possibly learn anything in such a short amount of time, please come and observe one or more ISR lessons! Contact your instructor to set up a time to observe!
WHY DO I HAVE TO BRING MY CHILD TO LESSONS FIVE DAYS A WEEK?
ISR lessons are scheduled 5 days a week because swimming is a sensori-motor skill, like crawling, walking, or riding a bike. To master sensori-motor skills, bodies must practice them regularly and consistently. Imagine if your child had only practiced crawling one day a week... it would have taken him months, if not years, to finally master the skill! Our five day a week lesson structure is proven through research to be the most effective schedule and allows ISR students to develop the muscle memory, body competence and confidence to self-rescue in an aquatic emergency.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO ISR INSTRUCTORS HAVE?
The ISR instructor training program is the most rigorous in the industry and includes a minimum of 60 hours supervised in-water training, plus education and testing in subjects such as child behavioral and developmental psychology and extensive training in physiology. Each potential instructor is carefully screened through extensive interviews before acceptance into the training program. ISR Instructors are required to complete annual re-certification training requirements to maintain their certification status.
HOW DO CHILDREN KNOW TO HOLD THEIR BREATH?
Breath holding skills are taught in the first lesson. Instructors shape breath control using highly effective positive reinforcement techniques. Breath control is a necessary part of safe survival swimming lessons. If any program claims children learn to hold their breath by "drinking or swallowing water," please know this is not true! Every ISR student is taught how to hold their breath, even our very youngest students at 6 months old, and ISR instructors will never continue underwater submersions with a child until breath control is obtained.
WHAT IF MY CHILD CRIES DURING HIS/HER LESSON?
Crying is a form of communication for children as they grow. They cry when they are hungry, bored, tired, etc. When introduced to a new person and a new experience such as ISR lessons, many children cry at first. Your child will be looking to you to develop his or her attitude toward swimming and ISR lessons. Students whose parents or care takers project positive attitudes and offer verbal praises will typically stop crying within 3 or 4 lessons or as their skill level progresses. Remember, competence leads to confidence which in turn leads to smiles! Crying will not bother the ISR instructor or interfere with your child's ability to learn.
IF MY CHILD CRIES, WILL THEY LEARN TO HATE/FEAR THE WATER?
There is an important difference between being afraid and being apprehensive in an unfamiliar environment. ISR is not like traditional swim lessons; it is a drowning prevention program that teaches survival swimming. Your child may not happily skip to his or her ISR lessons each day at first, but that's okay. Sometimes as a parent, you make sure your child does things for his or her SAFETY, like receiving vaccinations and wearing a seat belt, because you know they are important. The same can be said for ISR. FUN can be defined as when SKILL meets CHALLENGE. Once competent in their skills, most ISR students cannot be dragged away from the pool!! They are having entirely too much FUN. When you learn about ISR, you know this is the most important level of protection you can give your child to prevent drowning. If fences, supervision, and alarms fail, your child's skill is an additional measure of protection.
WHY DON'T PARENTS PARTICIPATE IN THE WATER DURING THE LESSONS?
We do not want students to initially associate the water with the love, attention, and affection of the parent. It takes incredible concentration and objectivity to teach children how to respond to an aquatic emergency and our research shows that parents often find it too difficult to be objective and effective with their own children in the water. Parents are invited to join a lesson once their child is skilled.
IS IT OK TO USE FLOATIES, LIKE PUDDLE JUMPERS OR FLOATATION SWIM SUITS UNTIL SHE IS READY TO LEARN TO SWIM? HOW ABOUT A LIFE-JACKET?
Flotation devices are the most dangerous thing to put on a toddler in the water for a number of reasons. 1. It gives the child a false sense of security. Children this age are sponges, and every interaction is a learning experience. If a child learns he can be independent in the water "even once" with floaties, the child has a false sense of what being alone in the water is really like. 2. It gives parents and caretakers a false sense of security. It is a lot easier to look away, even for a moment, if you believe your child is safe. 3. It teaches children to assume a drowning posture in the water. Drowning does not look like what we see in the movies. In real life, drowning humans assume a vertical position in the water with either their mouth at water level or just below the surface. Their arms and legs move underwater as if trying to climb a ladder. There is no screaming. There is no splashing. Just silence as they struggle to breathe. Floatation devices that artificially hold children in vertical positions and reinforce this ladder climbing "swimming" motion is a recipe for disaster. Properly fitting and tested life jackets - not Puddle Jumpers or water wings - must be worn on a boat and around any source of open water when there is the potential for an accidental submersion. Even in these cases, life jackets are not a substitute for constant adult supervision or the ability to self-rescue.
HAVE ANY CHILDREN USED ISR SKILLS IN A REAL EMERGENCY?
Yes!! ISR has over 1,000 documented survival stories. The Cincinnati area instructors have had many students self-rescue over the years!
HOW CAN BABIES LEARN TO RESPOND TO THE DANGER WHEN THEY 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 or she needs air, he or she has learned the correct behaviors to respond to the presence of water on their face/body. The baby needs only skill, practice, and confidence to deal with the situation. This is why the child is not panicked.
WHAT FURTHER LESSONS WILL MY CHILD NEED?
ISR recommends students return bi-annually or annually for refresher lessons depending on the student's age, growth rate, skill and confidence level. The goal of ISR refresher lessons is to help your child adjust his/her new body size and weight to his/her existing skill level. While NO program can "drown proof" your child, ISR lessons typically have a 94-100% retention rate up to one year later. Refresher lessons are important because children change so much both cognitively and physically during the first 4-5 years of life. It is important that their aquatic skill and abilities grow with their bodies.