Infant Swim Recovery, A Survival Technique

I’ve heard about this my entire life, infant swimming, and I’ve never witnessed it before in person, only on video. I find it fascinating.

From the producers of the video:

ISR’s Self-Rescue™ lessons for a 6-12 month old focus on teaching the child to roll onto their back to float, rest and breathe, and to be able to maintain this life-saving position until help arrives.

From Wikipedia:

Infant Swim Recovery is a survival technique that teaches infants and toddlers how to recover from an accidental fall into a body of water. The series of lessons begin a process of instilling skills to help the child regain buoyancy from a submerged state and remain in a balanced, floating position on their back. In that position, they can be heard crying or yelling, while gaining precious seconds for someone to come help them. The intention is to reduce the number of infant and child drowning deaths.

Unlike the popular parent/toddler classes, which encourage a “face IN the water” concept through blowing bubbles, etc., infant swim recovery emphasizes the ability to instinctively tilt the head BACK, getting it OUT of the water to take those precious breaths… the same mentality and reasoning behind infant life jackets… bringing the infant’s head back and out of the water, and maintaining a very comfortable back floating position.

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7 years ago

At the swim school where I work, we teach babies and we do emphasize backfloat as a necessity for safety at all ages, but we do not use ISR. We have had to work with some young children who were traumatized by those techniques, who have become afraid of the water. Rebuilding trust with those children and helping them regain their comfort and love for being in water takes time and effort. ISR seems to be a program with some profound successes and some equally profound traumatic outcomes for some children. I know there is a lot of information out there for parents to consider before choosing the learn-to-swim program that is the best fit for their own family.

Chest Rockwell
Reply to  Robin
7 years ago

I subscribed to the process after seeing the video, but after watching the techniques question it. Most of the children (if not all of them) scream “bloody murder” through the process. Some kids start crying before they even enter the facility just knowing where they are. There are other ways to achieve a safe child who has a healthy respect for the water.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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