Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of four. Some say lessons for infants and toddlers could save lives. Our Lauren Unger hit the pool to find out more.
Three-year-old Avery loves the water, but her parents know it can also be dangerous. Recently, Avery’s 5-year-old sister fell into the family’s pool. Luckily she and little Avery have taken a class to know how to respond. Sharon Kyle explains, “She immediately came up, was able to float, get in a stable position, do the roll they taught her, and get to the edge of the pool.” Ronnie Kyle says, “It gives you a lot of comfort that at least you would have a chance to get there before they would go under.”
It’s part of a nationwide program called Infant Swimming Resource. It teaches children as young as 6-months how to survive if they fall in the pool. ISR master instructor Ilana Black says, “How to get to their back and float and maintain that float until help comes.” The pictures are startling, parents say for them, it’s big piece of mind. Instructor Kimberly Dawson says several of her former students have already put it to work. “At Christmas time I had a child fall in jacket, tennis shoes, freezing cold water, he flipped to his back, took a breath, than swam to the side. Parent Christian Heimann says, “The minute we get in the water with him, he’ll arch his back like he’s ready to float.”
It is a potentially life saving skill for some little ones. Instructors emphasize that these lessons aren’t a replacement for common water safety like parental supervision around water and keeping your swimming pool gates locked.
While not everyone agrees with the idea of infant swimming lessons, the program has taught more than 175,000 children. So far, they say they’ve never had a child from the class injured or killed in a water related accident. Click here for more information of infant swimming lessons. For information on local lessons click here.