TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) When it comes to beating the summer heat, hitting the pools is almost second nature.
One local group is working to make sure that water safety is on the forefront of every parent’s mind.
“Infant Swimming Resources” is a national group of instructors teaching children as young as six months old what they call “survival swim lessons.”
The local group under ISR is called Infant Swim of Northeast Tennessee and has already taught more than a hundred children in the Tri-Cities this summer.
“If a child makes it to water unsupervised, they need to know how to save themselves,” says Joni Davis, a swim instructor for ISR.
These are more than just your average swim lessons. They teach infants and babies how to roll over and float, should they happen to accidentally fall into the water.
For children a little older, they teach them to float, flip over and swim.
“We teach them how to get on their back if they run out of air or get in a situation where they don’t know how to get out of it. So they’ll swim, they roll back, float, get their breath, then they flip over until they can get to safety, then they repeat that sequence,” says Davis.
Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children ages one to four.
Survival swim lessons like these are something a local mom, Nicole Hughes, says would have saved her son’s life.
“I do really believe that the right kind of swim lessons would have given him a healthy respect for the water so he would have been more likely to not even go near it. And it would have given him skills, had he just held his breath…” says Hughes.
Last year, Levi Hughes drowned in a matter of seconds in a pool at only three years old. Nicole says warning your kids about the water is not enough; they have to be prepared.
One mom who enrolled her children in the ISR classes this summer says she feels a peace of mind knowing they can save themselves.
“We are always around the water and I wanted to make sure that he felt safe and comfortable,” says Deandra Gomez.
The classes remind parents that knowing how to swim is the best layer of protection. Much better, they say, than relying on a life jacket when swimming in a pool.
“You’re really creating a very false sense of security. If the child makes it to water without you they are going to go vertical which is the drowning position. They will go directly to the bottom,” says Davis.
You would hope they never have to use them. But, these are skills Infant Swim wants every child to have.
They teach children ages six months to eight years old. For inquiries on lessons visit their website or email “firstname.lastname@example.org.”