Infants learn to Self-Rescue in water

July 15, 2013 6:28:51 PM PDT
Water can be enticing for any age, but for a young child it can be a dangerous place.

For that reason many parents rush to sign their kids up for swimming lessons during the summer.

But one type of instruction is getting a lot of attention, mainly because it is teaching babies to float sometimes before they can even walk.

In just seconds a child can get out of sight and wander to the closest body of water and fall in. Last year 207 children in California died from drowning, 16 Of them were under the age of four. But what if your toddler fell into the pool and kicked his way to the top and calmly floated on his back, and waited for someone to come get him?

In a You Tube video that has gone viral, a little boy named Miles demonstrates a technique called "self-rescue," taught by ISR instructors, or Infant Swimming Resource.

Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death in California for kids under the age of five. And while there really is no way to drown proof your kids, Infant Swimming Resource claims they have a method that will give your kids an extra layer of protection.

In Bakersfield at the home of Annie Jones, a certified ISR instructor, demonstrated some techniques of ISR in her backyard pool. Little Blake Parsons is in his second summer of ISR lessons, he started last summer at nine months. His grandmother Vicki Parsons was very skeptical at first.

"It just sounded too unbelievable for a child less than a year to save themselves in a pool," said Parsons.

Week after week Parsons watched her grandson with amazement as he learned to flip onto his back and float. Lydia Abel just started learning self rescue this summer at a year old. Her parents,Celina and Adam, heard about ISR through a friend and started their oldest daughter three years ago. Though lessons for both of the girls they say has taken a chunk out of the family budget. They say it has been worth every penny. Adam continues to marvel at what his youngest can do.

"Yesterday she had jeans, boots, socks, shirt, sweater, just like you saw today with her swimsuit on she floats," said Celina Abel.

Annie Jones says it takes several weeks of instruction ten minutes a day to teach babies to self-rescue.

"The younger children six months to about a year, we teach them to roll to their backs, float, rest and stay there until someone comes to get them," said Jones.

Children one to six years old learn to not only flip and float, but they also learn to move toward a safe place, like the side of the pool.But not everyone supports ISR for babies. It was only recently the American Academy of pediatrics changed its policy to consider infant swimming lessons appropriate for children as young as a year old. Previously they said it was inappropriate for children under four.

Mary Jo Quintero, ER nurse and water safety coordinator for Children's Hospital Central California does not support the coerced submersion of babies or toddlers.

" You know, a 6-month-old cannot problem solve, that's not within the realm of what they can do. Again, just make sure what's promised is something that you think your child can do, that is something that is developmentally available for that child," said Quintero.

Whether you decided to sign your children up for infant swimming resource, it is up to you. But one thing everyone agrees, nothing can substitute for adult supervision.

It takes only seconds for a child to slip away. After three minutes under the water, brain damage sets in. After eight minutes the brain is dead. And the time starts, not when you make the 911 call, but when the child goes under water.

Currently there is no certified Infant Swimming Resource instructor in the Valley.


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