WHAT IS ISR AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SWIMMING PROGRAMS?

Formerly known as Infant Swimming Research, ISR is the product over 40 years of ongoing development in the area of aquatic survival instruction for infants and children. ISR's primary focus is to teach you child to become a productive swimmer, or floater in any depth of water. The goal of ISR is that your child become 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 behavioral psychologist Dr. Harvey Barnett, ISR instructors have taught over 177,000 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 5-7 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 you 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 face in the water, and when they sense the need for air, to rollback onto their back to float. After resting and breathing, they will roll over and continue to swim to the nearest point of safety. A child can perform this swim-float-swim sequence to reach safety in a survival situation. Children can also perform this sequence in their clothes. If a child does not see a way out of his predicament, he will roll over onto his back and maintain a backfloat position. This buys the parent time in the event of an accident. This same sequence is most often used for fun at the pool! The confidence and self-esteem of these young swimmers is truly amazing! Teaching your 12 month to 6 year old will take approximately 6-8 weeks. The lesson format is the same as for the infants.

ARE SWIMMING LESSONS FOR INFANTS AND SMALL CHILDREN SAFE?

YES! ISR is dedicated to safety and maintaining numerous safety protocols to promote safe lessons. Your child's health and well-being are closely monitored on a daily basis. In addition, your child's medical and developmental history is a mandatory part of the ISR national registration process, all of which is held strictly confidential. All ISR instructors undergo an intensive and rigorous training that far exceeds any other training program of this kind. Each ISR instructor is also required to attend a yearly recertification symposium that includes quality control as well as upgrading. Your education in the area of aquatic safety for your entire family is an integral part of your child's lessons. You will receive access to the "Parent Resource Book", written by Dr. Harvey Barnett and JoAnn Barnett, which will inform you of every aspect of swimming for infants and children.

Consider these additional points:

  • No child is ever thrown into the pool.
  • A child is never submerged for more than 7 seven seconds.
  • ISR instructors monitor your child for temperature and muscular fatigue, as well as physical and psychological well-being.
  • Your child's daily routines outside of ISR lessons hold valuable data for your instructor. You will receive instructions on how to communicate this information to your instructor.

HOW DO YOU TEACH A BABY TO SWIM?

ISR instructors teach infants to swim by honoring each child's individual strengths and experiences. They understand the fundamentals of the behavioral sciences, child development and of sensorimotor learning as it relates to the acquisition of aquatic survival skills; they use this education to guide each child through the sequence of learning to swim and float.

WHY SHOULD PARENTS ENROLL THEIR CHILD IN ISR LESSONS?

ISR parents enroll their children because they understand their children's abilities and want to give them every opportunity to learn. They also feel it is important to teach their children how to surface and breathe should they find themselves alone in the water. Research shows that there are better times to learn certain things and swimming is best learned early in life. (Newsweek and Drowning Statistics)

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.

WILL MY CHILD LEARN TO 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 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, 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.

HAS THERE EVER BEEN ANY OUTSIDE RESEARCH ON THE ISR PROGRAM?

Dr. David Carr, a pediatrician in Orlando, Florida, conducted an extensive study on ISR. You can read his results on the Internet at the ISR web page http://infantswim.com/drcarr.htm After completing this study, Dr. Carr and his wife enrolled their daughter in ISR lessons.

HOW ARE ISR INSTRUCTORS TRAINED?

Each of the 245 ISR instructors trained have spent a minimum of five weeks in the water working beside a Master Instructor and/or Senior Master Instructor gradually taking more and more responsibility for each child's lesson. In addition to the in-water time, academic sessions are conducted in the areas of child development and learning theory, the behavioral sciences; anatomy, physiology and physics as they relate to infants and young children in the aquatic environment. Each instructor is also required to obtain and maintain both First Aid and CPR certifications. In addition, each instructor is required to attend the ISR National Recertification each year for continuing education about every facet of ISR as well as quality assurance.

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 ABOUT THE USE OF FLOTATION DEVICES AND LIFE JACKETS?

Flotation devices give children a false sense of security and engrain vertical body postures into their muscular system that are not compatible with swimming or floating skills. 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.

HOW IS IT THAT BABIES CAN LEARN TO RESPOND TO THE DANGER THAT WATER PRESENTS 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 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.

HOW LONG DO YOUR STUDENTS RETAIN THEIR SKILLS ONCE YOUR INSTRUCTORS HAVE TAUGHT THEM?

“We’ve found that if a sensorimotor skill is properly presented the first time the student is exposed to the curriculum the retention is very high. For ISR students, the retention for boys is 94 to 100 % and for girls between 96 and 100% assessed after one year since the last lesson. Advancing from learning to mastery is also a factor in skill retention and ISR students learn 90% of their skills with time left to practice in front of their Instructor during lessons. Also important, ISR students practice their skills encumbered in clothing, which is vital as most children are clothed when in a dangerous water situation.”
- JoAnn Barnett, President of ISR

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.