***This blog post has been updated to include information on COVID-19 safety measures, Roxanne’s new indoor pool, and our experience taking a three-week survival swim refresher course.
If you have a TV or the internet, you are surely being inundated right now with stories of young children drowning. With two fearless toddlers in our family, these stories shake me to my core.
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children between the ages of 1 and 4, and drowning is preventable.
After lots of research, we decided survival swim was a must for our family. We live near a lake and spend a good amount of time near the water in general. I wanted both Adeline and Jacob to have the skillset to save themselves, or at least give us a little more time to get to them in the circumstance they ever found themselves in the water when they shouldn’t have been.
What is ISR Self-Rescue Technique?
Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) is a provider of infant survival swimming lessons for children 6 months to 6 years old. The self-rescue technique is different based on the child’s age. For babies 6-12 months, children learn to hold their breath underwater, turn onto their backs, and float unassisted. Children 1 to 6 are taught a swim-float-swim sequence learning how to hold their breath underwater, swim with their heads down, roll onto their backs to rest, breathe, and roll back over to continue swimming. They learn to do this until they reach the side of the pool and can crawl out of the water or be rescued by an adult.
The lessons last 4-6 weeks, 5 days a week. After learning the skills, the child will be tested fully clothed, since that is usually when 86% of water accidents happen. Seeing both of my children float in full winter clothes (including jackets and shoes) was really encouraging.
You can read a thorough list of FAQs here.
Refresher lessons are shorter, usually three-week sessions, for swimmers who have already done the full six-week session in the past. Children grow and develop rapidly from infants to toddlers and young children, so it is important that they are regularly honing their floating and swimming skills. Refreshers are good to do before the summer swimming season, to make sure the child has maintained their skills over the winter months. Adeline took a refresher course this year, and it was exactly what we needed to feel confident that she still had her skills from last summer.
Classes look very similar (still 10 minutes), but from my experience, they seem to move much more quickly through the skills since it’s not their first time taking the course.
Survival Swim in Cypress
When I set out to find the right swimming lessons for our family, I knew I wanted some sort of survival swim. I also wanted something in the Cypress area. Infant Swim Cypress seemed like a great fit. Roxanne Pendleton is a certified ISR instructor operating out of her home pool in Cypress, TX. She is very responsive via email and answered all of my questions prior to signing up. Her process to register was very organized and thorough.
Indoor and Outdoor Pool Options
Roxanne lives in a safe neighborhood and has a beautiful pool in her backyard. She has three large umbrellas that extend over the pool to keep the kids out of the sun as much as possible.
She also has invested in an indoor, above-ground pool in her garage! It is able to be heated, so this option is great for the cooler winter months. It’s also ideal if the heat gets to be too much in the summer or if it’s raining hard (with no thunder or lightning).
Parking at her house is easy – either in her driveway or right in front of her house.
Survival swim lessons are an investment both in time and dollars ($20/lesson). There is also a registration fee through ISR. However, knowing Adeline and Jacob have skills that could potentially save their lives is worth every penny to us. Because you go five times a week during your initial course, and the sessions are only 10 minutes, it is a big commitment. I believe it is the repetition and having the lessons this close together that make the improvement happen at the pace it does.
I am constantly impressed by how quickly children learn. Adeline has now taken both a six-week course and a refresher course with Roxanne and has done great both times. She can float, turn over and swim, and then return to her float when she needs a breath. She can hold onto the side and tries to pull herself up to get out. Now when we take her to the pool she wants to practice her swimming and is floatie-free!
These sessions are hard work for the kids, especially when they start. The silver lining is you will probably get a great nap out of them!
Our experience with Jacob was actually even smoother than Adeline’s. Jacob shed way fewer tears (he’d usually only fuss right at the beginning when I handed him to Roxanne). He was actually usually smiling and giggling by a few minutes into his lesson. He has mastered his float and is working on swimming whenever we go to the pool.
During the lessons Roxanne simulates them falling into the pool both face first and backward to make sure they can still find their float regardless of how they enter the water.
COVID-19 Safety Measures
We started lessons this summer in May, right around the time businesses were opening back up after the quarantine in March and April. I was very impressed with all the measures Roxanne and Infant Swim Cypress are taking to keep the swimmers and families safe.
Just a few of the safety measures Roxanne is taking include:
- Sessions have been spaced out so there is no overlap between families.
- Students have to take their temperature at home before coming to class
- Gates to the back yard are left open so no one has to touch door handles
- Hand washing station upon entry
- Face masks worn by parents when handing students to the instructor
- Face shield worn by instructor
- Instructor hand sanitizes between each swimmer
- No changing of clothes or diapers around the pool
For those who might not feel the they can manage the cost of lessons right now, there are organizations that offer scholarships!
Live Like Jake is a nonprofit out of Florida started by two parents who lost their son in a drowning accident. Their mission is to bring awareness to drowning prevention, provide swimming lesson scholarships to those who cannot afford them, and provide financial and emotional support to families who have lost a loved one or have a child with critical care needs. Live Like Jake works with ISR instructors all over the world to provide their scholarships. You can donate to Live Like Jake here.
Swim Safe Forever is another nonprofit that offers scholarships. Their mission is to prevent childhood drowning through water safety education and scholarships for self rescue type swim lessons. They have a specific Northwest Houston chapter and Roxanne is one of the instructors that works with them to provide the scholarships. You can donate to Swim Safe Forever here.
Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning is a group of nonprofits that have come together to provide literature and resources about drowning to smaller organizations and the public. Anyone passionate on the topic can join to spread awareness about childhood drowning.
Roxanne also has an option for families to have loved ones donate towards a child’s lessons. I think this would be a meaningful gift to give an adult child with their own kids. It would also be a great gift to ask family members for as a birthday present for your child. I can’t think of anything more important!
We can’t control every situation our children will ever be in, but teaching them to swim is one of the best things we can do to keep them safe. If you have the time and budget, I highly recommend looking into the ISR Self Rescue Technique. And if you are looking for a survival swim program in the Cypress, TX area, I encourage you to reach out to Roxanne.
You can connect with Infant Swim Cypress through their website contact form or by emailing Roxanne directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure – I have received either discounted or complimentary classes during my time working with Infant Swim Cypress in exchange for sharing our experience here on the blog. As always, all opinions are always 100% my own.