Starting April 13, Fallbrook parents will be able to enroll their infants and toddlers in swimming lessons that could potentially save their lives if they were to fall into a pool while unattended.
Infant Swimming Resource (ISR), a national program that integrates swimming skills that are developmentally appropriate for young children, will offer lessons at a private facility to the Fallbrook community.
Children ages 6 months to 12 months will learn to hold their breath underwater, roll onto their backs and float unassisted.
Children ages 1 to 6 will learn how to hold their breath underwater, swim with their head down and eyes open, roll onto their back to float, rest, breathe and roll back over to resume swimming until they reach the side of the pool and can crawl out.
“This allows children to gain effective self-survival skills and allows a child to solve problems in the water,” said Jan Orwick, a master instructor with ISR. “Parents may not be able to monitor their children in all environments, but they can allow their children to fight for their lives .”
According to US national drowning statistics, drowning is the leading cause of death for infants and young children in 18 states, and nationally ranks second only to automobile accidents.
Appropriately 4,000 children each year die from accidental drowning, while another 12,000 are left with some form of permanent brain damage.
“Even with these statistics, 58 percent of parents don’t think this can happen to their child because they are constantly supervised,” said Orwick.
However, 70 percent of preschoolers who drown are in the care of one or both parents at the time, and 75 percent are missing from sight for five minutes or less.
Dr. Harvey Barnett, a former lifeguard, developed ISR in 1966. Now, the program is the only drowning prevention strategy that has a 100 percent safety record.
Since its inception, ISR has delivered more than seven million lessons in water self-rescue skills to more than 175,000 young children.
To date, the program has received 788 documented cases of children using ISR techniques to save themselves from drowning and more than 1,700 cases of children falling into a pool of water while under parental supervision.
ISR lessons are 10-minute one-on-one training sessions between instructor and child five days a week. These lessons emphasize developmentally appropriate instruction, health issues and considerations, ongoing program evaluations and parent education.
“After ISR lessons, parents watch their children more carefully,” said Orwick. “They realize that circumstances could change even in the best supervision.”
Orwick believes parents who invest in these classes realize the value.
“If a child is in a near-drowning accident, parents have to pay for the hospital, ambulance and treatment,” Orwick said. “If a child does not survive, the cost is much greater.”
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