Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Swim, Baby.

I wanted to take a moment to brag on my boy, as well as a fantastic program I have found. Earlier this summer, I enrolled "G" in Infant Swimming Resource, or ISR. I was a bit leery, as we tried the swim lesson thing last year with another company in the area and it did not go so well. However, being the "get back on the horse" type of mommy that I am, I decided to give it a go with ISR.
Since we live in Florida, I really do not think that anyone can be too careful when it comes to their children and water safety. I researched 3 or 4 different programs before a friend told me about ISR. I found that most of those other programs did not focus so much on survival skills as just blowing bubbles in the pool, catching rubber duckies, or perhaps relying on a flotation device such as a kickboard. I have a few major issuse with that. If my child is going to have fun in the water, that is great, but I will always be right by his side. But what if he were to fall into the pond near our home, or a pool at a friends house, or even the ocean? Even if I am a few feet away, I do not want him to panic and sink straight to the bottom and lose oxygen for even 30 seconds. I wanted him to know how to save himself. That is what I love about ISR, no frills survival skills!
For the past five weeks, G's teacher Miss Emma has worked with him on what to do if he finds himself in a potential drowning situation. It wasn't fun at first, of course. Many children cry when they go under for the first time. Some even continue to cry for the full four weeks, but the parents I have spoken to say that despite the water works in the pool, their children really do love the lessons and speak of them fondly when at home. "G" loves to go see Miss Emma every morning, and often asks for her during the rest of the day. He has learned to swim for the wall and pull himself out of the water from the waist up, as well as simply relax and float on his back (while breathing plenty of fresh air) if he can't get to the wall.
Is "G" ready to go in the pool all by himself while I sit poolside with a burger? Absolutely not. And he won't be in the water by himself for quite a while. However, he's two. Accidents happen in less than a second. All it takes is for my eyes to be off him for that long and he could go under. Unfortunately, when children who don't know how to swim fall in a body of water, they will generally sink straight to the bottom without much more than a quiet splash. That's why it often takes so long for them to be located by an adult looking for them. They might be so far down that a quick scan of the pool surface is not going to be a tip off.
ISR kids (even as yong as 6 months) know how to float on the top of the water, making them much easier to spot. Plus, they are breathing the whole time. I can say nothing but good about this program. As G's final lessons wrap up this week, I feel 100% confident that the choice we have made with ISR was the right one. And who can't feel good about that?

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