The pros and cons of teaching your infant to swim

October 20, 2011 | Melody Callaway
Tags: News


You have lots of options when teaching your kids to swim. One of them is infant swimming lessons...which, although it's not without it's critics, teaches children as young as six months old to survive if they fall in the water.

Lexi Coman is 15 months old. She learned to walk just a few months ago. She can also swim.

"We knew it was a real threat," says Lexi's dad. "We have pools on either side of us and you just never know."

Her parents, both registered nurses, enrolled Lexi in ISR (Infant Swimming Resource). ISR instructors teach babies to roll on their backs as soon as their faces hit the water and relax until help arrives.
For children ages one to six years old, they teach a swim-float-swim sequence, where children learn to swim with their faces in the water, roll back to breathe and then float back over to continue swimming to safety.

ISR is not your typical swim lesson. Kids don't learn to have fun in the water -- they are taught to respect the water, and understand how dangerous it can be.

"The difference between life and death is three inches face down versus face up," says one ISR instructor.

Critics argue that ISR teaches kids too early and that it can been traumatizing for them. They also say it makes parents less vigilant around the water with their kids.

"They're not drown-proof, never," the instructor continues. "We just want that extra layer of protection so they have a chance of survival."

The mother of 16-month-old Dominic says: "There's always that split-second your mind is somewhere else, something can happen."
And if that does happen to her son, his ability to float could safe his life.

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