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Infant Swim Self Rescue - anyone try it?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have experience with these kinds of swimming lessons: http://www.infantswim.com/

They teach kids as young as 6 months!

 

My son is 2 and he's at the point where he is very comfortable in the pool but he refuses to float on his back or put his face in the water. He just kicks around floating with a lifejacket. I am a swimmer and really want him to be able to swim correctly - for fun and safety.

 

I just signed up and start lessons for my son next week. It's rather expensive and very different from other forms of swimming lessons, but it gets such great reviews and the videos are amazing. Anyone try it?

post #2 of 52

My DD who is 4 months just started 'swim lessons' with DH. We did for several reasons - my DH has to work a lot for the time being so I wanted maximize the quality of time he has with her, and the largest statistic for children in San Diego is drowning so we wanted to teach water safety at a early age. Plus her teacher will be the same teacher until she outgrows swim lessons at late grade school! Here's the website for the place http://www.floatiesswimschool.com/ not sure if the philosophy is the same...we're really excited about it since its the cutest thing you've ever seen ever!

post #3 of 52

I find the ISR to be an abusive method.  No way I would subject my kids to it.  We have started swim lessons at a year here and they both swim well.

post #4 of 52
Thread Starter 

I think it's hard to make a case calling it abusive. If it were clearly abusive then they wouldn't offer classes at the YMCA or the city community pools.

 

We've already done "parent and me" classes multiple times but those don't teach survival skills. We started those at 6 months. And took them again at 18 months. That's why he's so good at kicking and can move all around the pool where ever he wants with a lifejack on. And that's why he's so comfortable in the pool that I fear for his safety. He loves it and will jump in easily.

 

I'm always with him and he listens when I tell him to wait and not jump in just yet, but I worry that if he's with another family member, they won't be as careful with him. I can't force them all to take water safety classes and CPR but I can make him take survival swimming lessons.

post #5 of 52

There are alternatives to ISR that teach survival skills.  My kid's swim classes teach them to turn and find the wall of the pool if they fall in at a very young age.  They are also very gradual to introduce submersion and get kids comfortable in the water.  I'll never forget that around 1yo my daughter fell into the hot tub at the pool (right after her lesson) and I heard the splash, looked over, and she was already holding the wall keeping herself safe.  She also could climb out from that position.  So you may want to research and see what there is in your area, ask friends, read reviews, etc.

post #6 of 52

From talking with people that did ISR, they literally throw the baby in the deep end of the pool on the first day. Personally, I don't think ISR jives with my parenting style. If you don't believe in cry it out, then I don't think you'll agree with the ISR methods either. Really, if your 2 year old doesn't like putting his face under, he's going to HATE getting thrown in the deep end over and over and over again. Really, the fastest way to get him to hate swimming might be to try this method. By the end of the classes, he may have learned not to drown, maybe to swim, but at what cost to your relationship? And at what detriment to his interest in swimming that you hope to foster?

post #7 of 52
I think ISR (as in forcing them to figure out how to swim) is wrong and dangerous. However, I did start introducing DD to the pool at about 6 weeks by gently swooping her under water and then bringing her back up. We started jumping in the pool last summer, and she is just now starting to be able to float on her back and let go of me for a few moments without sinking.

I agree with PP that thinks that ISR just doesnt jive with my parenting style. IMO, it's not very AP to force your child to do something without feeling safe and secure. But it does seem like most of the time people arent just throwing their kid in the water. It seems like the programs are designed to teach stuff step by step.
post #8 of 52

As someone who has fallen into a pool at a young age, I definitely see the benefits of this type of swim program. I was always in the water and could swim very, very well, but the second I fell in, I forgot everything and panicked. I think it's important for children to know that if they fall in, it won't be gentle and it won't be expected. This type of teaching shows them that, and it teaches them how to react appropriately. It might seem harsh, but it is closer to reality than many programs.

post #9 of 52
I unknowingly signed my toddler up for that type of class. The first class was very nerve racking, though all the other kids did very well. We lasted less that 6 lessons. I tried the activities once, but dd was very clear that she didn't want to do most of the activities. From then on I only gave gentle nudges.

Dd had just turned 2 and had loved the water, even rough beaches. No problem with taking showers and getting face wet. She was at the point that she no longer was content being held when in the water.

I think it could have gone better if I started dd at under 1yr. Overall it didn't set her back, but absolutely did not help.
post #10 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

I think ISR (as in forcing them to figure out how to swim) is wrong and dangerous. However, I did start introducing DD to the pool at about 6 weeks by gently swooping her under water and then bringing her back up. We started jumping in the pool last summer, and she is just now starting to be able to float on her back and let go of me for a few moments without sinking.
I agree with PP that thinks that ISR just doesnt jive with my parenting style. IMO, it's not very AP to force your child to do something without feeling safe and secure. But it does seem like most of the time people arent just throwing their kid in the water. It seems like the programs are designed to teach stuff step by step.

 

That's exactly what my DD's teacher does. On the 2nd lesson she gently, briefly swept her under water, and quickly brought her back up. DD didn't mind at all and loves her teacher. The teacher actually commented how they do things very gradual and not like other types that throw the baby in. I hadn't heard about ISR and harsh methods so I assumed it was similiar to my DD's swim classes. My DH gets in the water with DD and he loves the bonding time.

post #11 of 52
Thread Starter 
I asked members if they had tried this method. So far no one has responded saying they've done these classes.
No one here has even watched others do these classes. Where I live, they have them at local city pools so anyone can watch and see how it works.
Yet many here are jumping to conclusions and harsh judgment without ever having any direct knowledge of the method.
It is NOT "forcing" kids to learn to swim or "throwing them in the deep end alone." The instructor is there, teaching them to float, turn over, swim to the edge.
Not only are these criticisms unhelpful to me, they're ignorant.
I believe in attachment parenting but I also believe in education. Please do not attack something you know nothing about.
post #12 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post

I asked members if they had tried this method. So far no one has responded saying they've done these classes.
No one here has even watched others do these classes. Where I live, they have them at local city pools so anyone can watch and see how it works.
Yet many here are jumping to conclusions and harsh judgment without ever having any direct knowledge of the method.
It is NOT "forcing" kids to learn to swim or "throwing them in the deep end alone." The instructor is there, teaching them to float, turn over, swim to the edge.
Not only are these criticisms unhelpful to me, they're ignorant.
I believe in attachment parenting but I also believe in education. Please do not attack something you know nothing about.

Immersive techniques for infants I believe to be quite dangerous. Pool water is unhealthy to swallow. No way would I have subjected my children to those classes. The only way for children of any age to be completely safe around water is to be supervised at all times. I don't believe this technique could possibly fall into the realm of AP.
post #13 of 52
Thread Starter 

a) It's called "Infant Swim Resource" but the method is for kids ages 6 months to 6 years. As I said in my original post, my child is 2.5 years old. He is NOT an infant. I have talked to him about this and he understands what we will be doing. I have shown him videos of lessons. He's excited to learn how to swim well.

 

b) All infant swim lessons involve putting the infant's head under water. Most hold their breath and do not swallow a ton of water. It's basic reflex. most classes are designed just to be about fun and comfort. And that's fine at first. But if they're like my son, they can get to a point where they are overconfident in their swimming abilities and that puts them in danger.

 

c) This method empahsizes constant supervision and water safety. I'm also CPR and first aid certified and I know how to use a difibulator. Additionally, the pool in our community (HOA pool) has a fence that's over 6 feet tall and a locked gate as well as an emergency phone and rescue raft. It's very safe, there's little chance my son can get into that pool unsupervised even if I were a terrible mom and never watched him. This class is not a replacement for water safety like pool fencing and CPR classes. This is in addition to those things.

 

d) As I said before, I am a swimmer (not just a casual bather; I swam competitively as a teenager) so I know what I'm doing. I take this seriously. I'm not the kind of parent who is going to say "my son knows how to swim" when he clearly cannot get in and out of the water without assistance or move in the direction he wants. That's NOT swimming; that's playing. That's like saying he knows how to ride a bike when the reality is that he only knows how to "ride" a balance bike.

 

e) Continuing with the bike analogy, my son must wear a helmet when he rides his balance bike but I do not hover over him and hold on every step of the way. Instead, I make sure the ground is flat where he rides and I supervise and offer guidance but I let him fall when he's going to fall. Learning to walk, learning to ride a bike, and learning to swim involve some discomfort for the child. As a parent we encourage them, supervise, provide a safe environment, and give them guidance. But we don't deny them the opportunities to learn from minor mistakes. Instead, we are there for hugs, kisses, and bandaids when needed.

 

f) I took my son to 3 other swimming classes and I was highly disappointed in the lack of knowledge of the teachers. They don't know early childhood development. Some aren't even very good swimmers themselves. They just follow the method they've been taught, which is a method that is not customized for each child and is a method that encourages water fun and exploration, not safety. Those classes are fine to start with but they are NOT swimming lessons. They're not even water safety lessons.


Edited by marsupial-mom - 7/9/12 at 12:05pm
post #14 of 52

Here's an interesting read regarding swim classes and young children.

 

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/105/4/868.full

 

"Generally, children are not developmentally ready for swimming lessons until after their fourth birthday. Aquatic programs for infants and toddlers have not been shown to decrease the risk of drowning, and parents should not feel secure that their child is safe in water or safe from drowning after participating in such programs."
 

post #15 of 52
What is the point seriously? There is zero excuse for anything but the type of supervision of young children that would totally prevent anything like this from ever happening. I know someone who experienced these types of classes who remains terrified of water to this day..and unable to swim or learn to due to total panic around water. Also know a family whose toddler drown in a bucket of water. Supervise your kids proprerly around water and you won't have to worry about drowning nor will you have to worry that you're choosing a method of teaching them that has the potential to create fear and mistrust.
post #16 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dejagerw View Post

Here's an interesting read regarding swim classes and young children.

 

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/105/4/868.full

 

"Generally, children are not developmentally ready for swimming lessons until after their fourth birthday. Aquatic programs for infants and toddlers have not been shown to decrease the risk of drowning, and parents should not feel secure that their child is safe in water or safe from drowning after participating in such programs."
 

Did you read the report???

 

It says:

 

"For any water safety or swimming class, children learn better if they are developmentally ready, properly motivated, positively reinforced, and if the experience is enjoyable. When instruction attempts to optimize learning by reducing fear of water, children may unwittingly be encouraged to enter the water without supervision."

 

"The optimum time to master more complex skills of swimming has not been thoroughly researched and has not been determined."

 

"The effects of training on the acquisition of water survival skills in young children have been studied by Asher et al16 In a population of children averaging 34 months of age, water survival skills were enhanced after a training program."

 

If you go to footnote 16 and read that study, it says:

 

"Swimming ability and safety skills of young preschool children can be improved through training. Such programs may offer some protection for children at risk of drowning and there was no indication that this program increased the risk of drowning. However, pool fencing, other barriers around water, and parental supervision still remain the most important prevention strategies to reduce drowning in young children."

post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post

Did you read the report???

 

Yes, I read the report. The point of the report is, you need to be careful when you sign your children up for these swim classes. It doesn't make them statistically safer in the water, it just makes parents feel better, and thus can potentially cause the child to be at greater risk.

 

The OP also stated that she wanted her son to swim correctly. It also talks about when kids learn appropriate stroke techniques, and that "having children begin swimming lessons at an earlier age does not translate to a more rapid mastery of aquatic skills or a higher level of swimming proficiency compared with those taking lessons at a later age."

post #18 of 52
Thread Starter 

Also, that report was from the year 2000. The updated one from 2010 says this:

 

"In the new policy, the AAP reinforces its existing recommendation that most children age 4 and older should learn to swim, but the AAP is now more open toward classes for younger children. In the past, the AAP advised against swimming lessons for children ages 1 to 3 because there was little evidence that lessons prevented drowning or resulted in better swim skills, and there was a concern parents would become less vigilant about supervising a child who had learned some swimming skills.

 

But new evidence shows that children ages 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction. The studies are small, and they don’t define what type of lessons work best, so the AAP is not recommending mandatory swim lessons for all children ages 1 to 4 at this time. Instead, the new guidance recommends that parents should decide whether to enroll an individual child in swim lessons based on the child’s frequency of exposure to water, emotional development, physical abilities, and certain health concerns related to pool water infections and pool chemicals."

 

link: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Gives-Updated-Advice-on-Drowning-Prevention.aspx

post #19 of 52

You might try a search for ISR or Infant Swim here on MDC. There have been a lot of threads about it. That might help you get some more insight into it.  As I recall the general consensus was usually that they weren't a good idea.

post #20 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

What is the point seriously? There is zero excuse for anything but the type of supervision of young children that would totally prevent anything like this from ever happening. I know someone who experienced these types of classes who remains terrified of water to this day..and unable to swim or learn to due to total panic around water. Also know a family whose toddler drown in a bucket of water. Supervise your kids proprerly around water and you won't have to worry about drowning nor will you have to worry that you're choosing a method of teaching them that has the potential to create fear and mistrust.



Careful, there are a couple of MDC mom's who have lost kids because of drowning. While I agree that proper supervision is necessary, I think it is unfair to assume that people can always supervise their kids. For example, a few months ago in the rural area where I live a little boy wandered off from a game of hide and seek and was found three days later 2 miles away sitting on a rock in the middle of a creek. For people who live around water, or who are around water often is it really important that they learn to swim. Often times mom's can't keep their eyes in 6 places at once.
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