Infant Swimming Resource Teaches Water Survival Skills to Children

by ISR staff

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for infants and young children between the ages of 1 to 4. With a mission of “not one more child drowns,” the Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) has, since its formation in 1966, provided safe and effective survival swimming lessons for infants and young children.

Through a team of nearly 450 highly trained instructors, infants and children receive swimming lessons using the ISR Self-Rescue instruction, the product of more than 45 years of research, which achieves unparalleled results. Successful drowning prevention will require a large group of caring and capable professionals whose sole focus is to save lives. The ISR Self-Rescue program has delivered nearly 8 million lessons and saved more than 800 lives.

Pool fences, supervision and pool alarms are important parts of a necessary multilayered approach to drowning prevention. However, traditional lines of defense break down, and the 4,000-plus drowning deaths per year bear a grim testament to the fact that traditional approaches are missing a key component: the child. The child is the most important part of a drowning-prevention strategy, and more than 260,000 ISR graduates and 800 documented survival stories are proof that children can save themselves. Children are curious, capable and have an uncanny ability to overcome obstacles, like pool fences; ISR takes that ability and teaches them skills to potentially save themselves if they end up in the water alone.

The ISR Self-Rescue program focuses on each individual child’s stage of development and readiness; each one-on-one lesson is customized to each child’s abilities in the water. The foundation of ISRʼs instruction and techniques is based on principles of psychology, physiology and the behavioral sciences.

The survival-swimming program is a four- to six-week course, scheduled five days per week, Monday through Friday, for 10 minutes each day. With a focus on safe, customized, one-on-one lessons by certified instructors, the lessons emphasize health, ongoing program evaluations and parent education. Children may begin lessons at 6 months of age until 6 years of age. Lessons for infants 6 to 12 months old focus on teaching the child to roll onto his/her back to float, rest and breathe, and to be able to maintain this life-saving position until help arrives. Lessons for children 1 to 6 years old focus on teaching the swim-float-swim survival sequence. Children learn to swim with their heads down; roll onto their backs to float, rest and breathe; then roll back over to resume swimming until they reach the side of the pool, where they can either crawl out or hold onto the side until they can to be rescued. Once the children are fully skilled, they will practice ISR survival techniques fully clothed during lessons.

To find a local Infant Swimming Resource instructor, visit