FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Start by reading our ABOUT ISR LESSONS page and watch video of what child will be learning!
WHAT IS ISR AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SWIMMING PROGRAMS?
ISR is the product over 50 years of ongoing development in the area of survival swimming lessons for infants and children. ISR's primary focus is to teach your child to become a productive swimmer or floater in any depth of water. The goal of ISR is that your child becomes an aquatic problem solver. ISR will greatly increase your child's chance of surviving an aquatic accident, even when fully clothed! Developed in 1966 by a behavioral psychologist Dr. Harvey Barnett, ISR Instructors have taught over 200,000 students nationwide and abroad.
IF MY CHILD IS UNDER ONE YEAR OLD, WHAT WILL HE/SHE BE ABLE TO LEARN?
Children between the ages of 6-12 months old are taught to roll over and maintain a backfloat position in the event of an accidental fall into the water. Teaching your infant to float takes approximately 3-4 weeks. Private 10 minutes lessons per day are held 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. Skilled infants can maintain a backfloat in a bathing suit or in clothing. If you own a hot tub, pool, boat, or just enjoy the water, ISR highly recommends survival training once your infant begins to crawl.
IF MY CHILD IS OVER A YEAR OLD, WHAT WILL HE/SHE BE ABLE TO LEARN?
Children over the age of one year are taught to swim with their head down; roll onto their back to float, rest, and breathe; an toll back over to resume swimming until they reach the side of the pool, where they can wither crawl out or until they can be rescued. Once the children are fully skilled they will practice ISR's Self-Rscue(TM) skills fully clothed during lessons. This sequence then can be used for fun at the pool with family and friends! Teaching your 12 month to 6 year old will take approximately 4-6 weeks. The lesson format is the same as for the infants.
HOW MANY ISR LESSONS WILL MY CHILD NEED?
Progress in lessons is determined by your child's own unique learning style as all lessons are private. Most students under 12 months complete learning a rollback to float in about 4 weeks of lessons. Each lesson lasts a maximum of 10 minutes five days per week. Children 12 months and older learning a swim-float-swim technique typically master the skills in 4 to 6 weeks.
HOW CAN A CHILD LEARN ANYTHING IN 10 MINUTES?
Although 10 minutes may seem like a very short lesson, remember that each lesson is private and your child is getting the undivided attention of the Instructor. This lesson though short is very intense. Most group lesson are only 30-45 minutes in length with as many as 6 children in each class. This equals only about 5-7 minutes of actual instruction time for each child. Before deciding that your child can't possibly learn in such a short lesson, come and observe one or more ISR lessons.
HOW 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 approach does not teach your child any of the skills necessary for survival. Many lessons such as Mommy and Me teach children that the water is a fun place to play without teaching them any meaningful skills. Remember the water will not be a fun place for your child if he or she is unskilled and finds himself alone in the water. This approach may actually make a child more vulnerable to drowning as a child is taught to be fearless without any understanding of the skills needed for effective swimming. ISR lessons encourage water competence first thereby promoting a safe foundation for a lifelong enjoyment of the water.
WHAT IF MY CHILD HASN'T MASTERED THE SKILLS IN THE TYPICAL TIME FRAME?
In some cases such as where a child has missed lessons due to illness, a child will require longer to complete lessons. This child will continue until he or she has successfully mastered the skills he or she is learning. ISR lessons differ from many other swim lessons that end after a set number of weeks or lessons.
IS ISR SOMETHING NEW? WHO STARTED IT?
Founded by Harvey Barnett, Ph.D. in 1966, ISR endeavored to put an end to a preventable tragedy... childhood drowning. Barnett witnessed the aftermath of this tragedy after a neighbor’s 9-month-old son reached the water alone. From that point on, Barnett vowed to do everything possible to ensure that Not One More Child Drowns. A behavioral scientist by trade, Barnett adapted his theoretical knowledge of learning to pioneer ISR’s Self-Rescue method used today to teach infants and young children to save themselves should they reach the water alone. Fortunately, what began as one man’s mission has transformed into a worldwide organization that is continually making large strides toward the day that Not One More Child Drowns. To date, ISR has more than 790 documented cases of children using ISR’s survival swimming techniques to save themselves from drowning.
HOW MANY CHILDREN HAVE TAKEN ISR LESSONS?
To date, over 200,000 students have learned to swim through ISR lessons. There are currently over 400 instructors teaching ISR throughout the United States and abroad.
ARE ISR LESSONS SAFE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN?
YES! ISR Instructors have given over 7 million safe and 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 our professionals to ensure that he or she can safely participate in lessons . Each lesson is private so the Instructor’s attention is focused completely on your child. The ongoing safety of each child is monitored throughout lessons by requiring each parent to keep a daily diary of their child in order to monitor their 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 child's lesson will not take place or in some cases the length and pace of a lesson is adjusted . Many pediatricians who are educated about this program and its high safety standards are willing to refer their patients to this program.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DOES AN ISR INSTRUCTOR HAVE?
Every ISR Instructor worldwide completes an 8-week intensive academic and in-water training and certification program before they are certified to offer ISR’s Self-Rescue program. Once certified, ISR Instructors are recognized as highly skilled, precise aquatic behavior specialists who understand the unique cognitive, intellectual and physical development dynamics of young children. Understanding the behaviors of children in the water allows each Instructor to respond with ISR’s proprietary technique.
WHY CAN'T ISR TEACH INFANTS UNDER 6 MONTHS OLD?
Children under the age of 6 months are not neurologically mature enough to benefit from ISR instruction.
WHAT OTHER BENEFITS DOES THE ISR LESSON EXPERIENCE PROVIDE THE CHILD WHO HAS BEEN THROUGH LESSONS?
Every child is different; however, many parents report that once their young children have mastered learning to swim, the resulting confidence in the abilities engenders a positive self-concept that is often demonstrated in other aspects of their personalities.
HOW DO CHILDREN KNOW TO HOLD THEIR BREATH?
Breath holding skills are taught in the first lesson. We shape breath control using highly effective positive reinforcement techniques.
WHAT IF MY CHILD CRIES DURING HIS OR HER LESSON?
Crying is a form of communication for many children as they grow. They cry when they are hungry, bored, tired, etc. When introduced to a new person and a new experience, many children cry. This is not unusual for a child in ISR lessons. Your child will be looking to you to develop her attitude toward swimming and lessons. A child whose parent projects a positive attitude and praises their child's efforts will see their child's crying diminish or even be eliminated as their skill level progresses. Crying will not bother the Instructor or interfere with your child learning.
IF MY CHILD CRIES WILL HE LEARN TO HATE OR FEAR THE WATER?
There is an important difference between being fearful and being apprehensive because you are not yet skilled in a dangerous 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 lesson 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 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, many children 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 DOES ISR NOT USE PARENTS IN THE WATER DURING THE LESSONS?
We do not want the baby to initially associate the water with the love, attention and affection of the parent while in the water. Also, it takes incredible concentration and objectivity to teach the baby how to respond to an aquatic emergency and our research shows that parents often find it too difficult to be objective to be effective teachers with their own children in the water.
IS IT OK TO USE FLOATIES, RINGS OR FLOATATION SWIM SUITS FOR MY CHILD TO PLAY IN THE WATER UNTIL SHE IS READY TO LEARN TO SWIM? HOW ABOUT A LIFE-JACKET?
Flotation devices give children a false sense of security and hold them in postures that are not compatible with swimming skills. If a child learns that he can jump in the water and go into a vertical posture and he will be able to breathe, he is getting the wrong idea about that environment. Flotation devices are for children who cannot swim. Children, who cannot swim, should not be allowed to learn that it is safe to play in the water while relying on a crutch. Life jackets must be worn in a boat or around the water when there is the potential for an accidental submersion; they are not a substitute for the ability to swim or for adult supervision.
DOES TAKING ISR LESSONS GUARANTEE THAT A CHILD WILL BE DROWN-PROOFED WHEN FINISHED?
No person or child is ever drown-proofed by any lessons. Supervision is still the most important factor in preventing drowning. Other precautions must be taken to prevent a child from ever getting to the water unsupervised. ISR educates you on how to protect your child through The Parent Resource Book which is provided to every parent upon registration. The goal of lessons is for your child to have skills that he or she could use to survive in a potential drowning situation.
HAVE ANY CHILDREN EVER USED THESE SKILLS IN A REAL EMERGENCY?
Yes, to date more than 790 of our students have used the skills that they learned through ISR to save themselves from drowning.
HOW IS IT THAT BABIES CAN LEARN TO RESPOND TO THE DANGER THAT WATER PRESENTS WHEN THEY FALLIN?
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 needs air, he doesn't need to perceive danger in order to respond in this manner. He needs skill, practice and confidence to calmly deal with the situation.
WHAT FURTHER LESSONS WILL MY CHILD NEED?
ISR recommends that you bring your child back for refresher lessons. Frequency depends on the child's age, growth rate, skill level and confidence level. The goal of refreshers is to help your child adjust his/her new body size and weight to his existing skill level. Your Instructor will work with your child to help fine-tune his or her aquatic experience to assist with building efficiency which will result in self-confidence. This is especially important if you child has not been able to practice any appropriate aquatic skill between seasons. 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.
I'M NOT SURE THAT I CAN AFFORD SWIM LESSONS FOR MY CHILD.
Your child is unique, precious and irreplaceable. No value can ever be placed on him or her. Drowning is a leading cause of death for children and preventing it is vital to your child's health and well-being. A child who cannot swim is at greater risk for drowning. Parents spend considerable amounts on other lessons and sports that will never teach a child any lifesaving skills. By comparison, knowing how to swim can protect your child from death or serious permanent injury. It will also provide a lifetime of enjoyment for your child. Financial Assistance is available to those who qualify through ISR's Community of Caring Scholarship Fund.
WHERE CAN I GET INFORMATION ABOUT BECOMING AN ISR INSTRUCTOR?
For information about becoming an ISR Instructor, visit http://careers.infantswim.com/